Page last updated at 18:11 GMT, Friday, 12 June 2009 19:11 UK

China mulls Afghan border request


Chinese and Afghan foreign ministry officials may open up a strategically important and scenic border area, officials say after a meeting.

The two sides met in Beijing this week to discuss the 76km (47 mile) border that divides the two countries, known as the Wakhan Corridor.

Afghanistan wants the border to be opened as an alternative supply route to help forces battling the Taliban.

The Chinese say they will "earnestly study" the proposal.

'Positive attitude'

"The (terrorism) solution must be comprehensive, regional and international," Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta said in a speech earlier this week.

He said it was his "personal wish" to open the Wakhan Corridor.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said his country would adopt "an earnest and positive attitude" on co-operation with Afghanistan "on transport, trade and economy".

"We're willing to earnestly study his suggestions," he said.

The Wakhan Corridor is about 210km long (130 miles) long.

Correspondents say that the idea of using it as an alternative route for supplying US and Nato forces in Afghanistan has been floated before.

They say the call by Afghanistan is likely to fall on deaf ears in China, which fiercely resists any initiatives viewed as undermining its national sovereignty.

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