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Kayani meets top Chinese officials amid terror concerns

Kayani meets top Chinese officials amid terror concerns

Beijing: Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani Tuesday met top defence and public security officials here amid China's growing concerns over militancy in Xinjiang province that borders PoK.

Kayani, who arrived here yesterday, met top Communist Party official and Minister for Public Security Guo Shengkun, who oversees the crackdown against militants in Xinjiang.

The meeting took place in the backdrop of yesterday's car crash at Tiananmen Square, suspected to be a suicide attack by Islamist militants from the border region. Five persons, including three who were in the car, were killed and 38 others injured in first such attack in Beijing.

"China supports Pakistan in making counter-terrorism strategies based on its national conditions. We are ready to work with Pakistan and other countries to strengthen cooperation in this area," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing.

She was responding to questions on whether China will raise the issue of terrorism with Kayani and whether Beijing is concerned about threats posed by militant groups based in Pakistan.

Xinjiang borders both Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) and Afghanistan.

Several reports in the Pakistani media have said that China has expressed concern over the activities of militants from Xinjiang who operate from bases in Pakistan's restive tribal belt. According to these reports, members of both East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), are active in that region.

Hua said China believes Pakistan has made "enormous efforts" in cracking down on terrorism.

Huang Xilian, Councillor of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, who spoke to Indian media separately, said terrorism is a common threat to the world and Pakistan is a victim of it. All countries in this region should work together to tackle it, he said.

Xinjiang has been witnessing unrest involving Muslim Uyghurs and Han settlers. In recent years the province witnessed several violent incidents which China blames on the al-Qaeda-linked ETIM.

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