China will provide a non-reimbursable assistance of 1.5 billion yuan (about USD 244 million) in the upcoming three years to Afghanistan, said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the fourth ministerial conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan, the premier pledged to strengthen bilateral cooperation in areas such as infrastructure construction, agriculture, water conservancy, and mineral resources exploitation.

Li presented five-point proposals for the solution of Afghan issue, including insisting self-governance of the Afghan people, promoting political reconciliation among different Afghan political parties, speeding up economic reconstruction and, exploring a development path for the country, and strengthening external support to it. The international community should respect Afghanistan's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, not interfere with its internal affairs and support Afghanistan's efforts to realize security and stability, Li said.

Inaugurated in 2011, the Istanbul Process is the only Afghanistan-related cooperation mechanism led by regional countries. This is also the first time for China to host Afghanistan-related international conference. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who is paying his first China visit since taking office in September, also addressed the opening ceremony.

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