BEIJING >> China is shoring up ties with Afghanistan with a joint declaration pledging closer cooperation in areas from border security to disease control.
The document was issued following a meeting Friday in Beijing between Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai. Karzai had earlier attended the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security bloc of which Afghanistan is an observer state.
China is positioning itself for a bigger role in Afghanistan following the departure of most U.S. and other international troops at the end of 2014.
Already, Chinese companies have moved to secure Afghan copper and other mineral rights, while the government has provided equipment and training for the civil service.