China to raise Xinjiang rebels’ Pak links during Sharif visit
Overseas Islamic rebels operating in China’s restive Xinjiang province may figure in talks when Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif’s visit here this week, reflecting Beijing’s concerns about ‘close collusion’ between local and foreign militants in the region bordering PoK.
Sharif is arriving on a five-day visit on Thursday and is scheduled to hold talks with president Xi Jinping, premier Li Keqiang and other leaders besides visiting Shanghai and Guangzhou.
‘We have taken note there is closer collusion between the relevant forces and the East Turkistan Islamic Movement,’ foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Tuesday, referring to the separatist militant group active in Xinjiang.
Officials in the Muslim Uygur majority Xinjiang, in the past, have alleged some local militants were trained in camps in Pakistan, which closely cooperates with China against militant activites in the region.
Thirty-five persons, including several police officers, were killed in Xinjiang in the last four days when militants launched deadly attacks in Turpan area and police are said to have busted a 17-member militant cell at Hotan just before they were to carry out major attacks.
‘ETIM poses a threat to China’s stability and relevant countries. China is ready to step up cooperation with relevant countries to jointly fight terrorist organisations including ETIM,’ Hua told a media briefing while answering questions about the presence of foreign militants in Xinjiang.
‘Chinese government is firmly supportive of Pakistani government efforts to fight terrorism and maintain national stability. China is ready to increase its cooperation with relevant countries on counter terrorism,’ Hua said about recurring incidents of terrorism in Pakistan.
Some reports say Syrian fighters were seen as having a part in attacks in Xinjiang, which is a new development. State-run Global Times reported some ETIM members had also moved from Turkey into Syria and joined the ongoing civil war in that country. ‘The collusion between ETIM and relevant forces poses great threat to the country and the international community should stay alert,’ she