China reopens Confucius institute in Afghanistan
Beijing: Looking to play an active role in Afghanistan in the backdrop of US plans to withdraw its troops from the troubled nation, China on Monday reopened the Confucius Institute in Kabul University to teach Chinese language, 18 months after it was closed due to violence.
Addressing a ceremony, Xu Feihong, the Chinese ambassador to Afghanistan, congratulated the Confucius Institute on its comeback to this war-hit nation, saying it marks significant progress in relations between the two nations, official media here reported.
"China and Afghanistan are good neighbours, friends and partners. The exchanges between the two peoples date back as far as 2,000 years," Xu said.
"I wish all the students from the Confucius Institute a promising future and hope that they can continue helping promote the bilateral ties, after the two governments upgraded their ties to the level of a strategic and cooperative partnership last year."
The Confucius Institute, which specialises in teaching Chinese language was launched in Kabul University in January 2008 and was halted in October 2010 due to security concerns.
Currently, one teacher from China and two other Chinese instructors are teaching Mandarin to around 100 Afghan learners at elementary levels.
The reopening comes as China, which has over USD three billion investments in Afghanistan, is actively engaged with Russia, India and Pakistan to discuss the future scenario as US and NATO troops set to leave the country next year.
While China, Russia, Pakistan talks were held in the first week here this month, National Security Advisors of China, Russia and India held a similar meeting on February 21, which diplomatic sources say were part of consultative process to discuss efforts to stabilise the security situation in Afghanistan when the US and other NATO countries forces leave.
With over USD three billion investments in Afghanistan and a volatile situation in Xinjiang, bordering that country where Islamic militants were fomenting a separatist movement, China too is reportedly concerned about the post US troops withdrawal scenario.