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US envoy to 'seek help' from China
By Zhang Xin (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-04-15 07:44

A top US envoy is aiming to secure China's cooperation in its fight against terrorism, experts say.

Richard Holbrooke, US envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, will visit China on Wednesday and Thursday, the Foreign Ministry said.

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Niu Xinchun, vice-director of the Center for American Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said the visit was another sign of US President Barack Obama's new strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"The US is actively seeking cooperation with the countries neighboring the two terrorism-plagued areas, with China its biggest targeted partner," he said, adding that China borders Afghanistan and has a long relationship with Pakistan.

Stamping out the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been one of the US' priorities.

Obama has revamped Afghan strategy, broadening the mission to include pressure on neighboring Pakistan in a bid to root out the Taliban and Al-Qaida in its lawless border regions.

Obama has been looking to China for cooperation in resolving thorny issues in Afghanistan as he appealed with limited success in Europe for additional assistance in new ground forces, Niu said.

However, China will not send peacekeeping troops to Afghanistan in the foreseeable future, said Shi Yinhong, a professor in American studies at Renmin University of China.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization members have been seeking Beijing's military assistance in Afghanistan, urging China to send troops and open an alternate logistics route into Afghanistan through western China to replace the main passageways traversing Pakistan.

"It is unlikely for China to get involved in military operations, but it is already functioning and playing a noticeable role within the international organizations such as the United Nations," Shi added.

Instead, he said, China would make efforts to aid the reconstruction of the terrorism-plagued region, as China has written off a $75-million loan it provided to Afghanistan and will support the Aug 20 presidential elections.

"Holbrooke's visit may enhance communication concerning anti-terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan but will not change the decision China has already made," Shi said.

China-Peru FTA

China and Peru will soon sign a free trade agreement (FTA), foreign ministry spokesman Jiang Yu said.

"Both sides are currently going though necessary legal processes to ink the agreement at an early date," she told a briefing.

She said the China-Peru FTA will be the first signed with a Latin American country. It involves cooperation in a wide range of fields, with high-level openness and a "significant" response to the global financial crisis.

President Hu Jintao and Peruvian President Alan Garcia announced the conclusion of FTA talks during Hu's visit to Peru last November.

The China-Peru agreement has been lauded as China's implementation of "a win-win strategy" in trade, among many other fields with the Latin American countries.