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Friday, June 7, 2013

China Ups Presence In Afghanistan As U.S. Withdraws

An Afghan man rides his bike past a China Merchandise Trade Center in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 22, 2013. (Musadeq Sadeq/AP)

An Afghan man rides his bike past a China Merchandise Trade Center in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 22, 2013. (Musadeq Sadeq/AP)

President Obama and Chinese President Xi JinPing are meeting in California on Friday.

Cybersecurity, trade and North Korea are expected to come up. One topic that will not be a focus is Afghanistan.

As the U.S. prepares for a military withdrawal in that country, China is ramping up its presence there.

China is investing in the energy and wireless sectors, and even opening a Chinese Confucius cultural center in Kabul.

In a piece for The Atlantic, Alexandros Peterson writes:

Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are the largest investors in Afghanistan’s extractive sector and Afghan officials speak of Chinese investment as central to ensuring that the national government in Kabul will remain in power after 2014. American analysts, for their part, have undergone a similar transition, going from criticizing Chinese companies for riding on the coattails of U.S. security to openly advocating that Beijing take a leadership role in post-withdrawal Afghanistan.

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