Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

Days after Beijing attack,China talks cooperation on terrorism

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Posted: November 11, 2013 2:07 am

Days after a terrorist attack at the historic Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing,China for the first time expressed strong support for “counter-terrorism” cooperation with India and Russia at a meeting here Sunday.

Sources told The Indian Express that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi “red-flagged” the issue on his own as he held talks with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid

and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the 12th Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral meeting.

Wang reportedly said that the attack at Tiananmen Square involved jehadist elements. The RIC joint statement,released after the meeting,made a mention of the incident and condemned it “in the strongest terms”,at China’s insistence.

As an outcome,the statement also made a reference to terrorism in a language much sharper than used by an RIC meet before. “Terrorism is a threat to international peace and security and a grave violation of human rights and a crime against humanity,” it said. The ministers agreed that “there cannot be ideological,religious,political,racial,ethnic,or any other justification for acts of terrorism”. They underlined the need “to bring to justice perpetrators,organisers,financiers and sponsors of terrorist acts”.

Russia too expressed concerns about terrorism spreading from Afghanistan.

The foreign ministers also briefly discussed how they could cooperate on the issue,and one of the ideas was through Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Regional Counter Terrorism Structure,based in Tashkent,Uzbekistan. They agreed to take the discussions forward.

“At this stage,it is an incipient idea,but has the potential to develop into a concrete mechanism,” a source,privy to the discussions,said.

While Delhi has always tried to bring the issue of terrorism to the forefront in RIC trilateral talks,China had been cold to the idea so far. With Beijing now expressing concerns on the issue,officials hope trilateral cooperation can be reached.

After the talks,Khurshid said,“We had a very productive discussion on these issues on counter-terrorism. We do want to look together at countering drug trade that is as great a menace as terrorism and in fact intrinsically linked in many ways.”

Wang talked about the need to have a secure,stable and unified Afghanistan which enjoys development,while Lavrov asked for “additional measures” by international community to prevent escalating security threats in Afghanistan.

On October 28,a sports utility vehicle had ploughed through a crowd of tourists at Tiananmen Square and burst into flames in front of Beijing’s Forbidden City. Five people had died,including a family of three. A top Chinese security official later said it was the work of a terrorist group that has been waging a violent separatist campaign in China’s far northwestern frontier region of Xinjiang.

Authorities claimed to have found “extreme religious content”,“long knives” and “jehadist flags” in the homes of the suspects,all of them from the Muslim Xinjiang. While ethnic Uighurs formed a majority of Xinjiang’s population until 1949,in recent years it has seen mass migration of Han Chinese,who make up the largest ethnic group in China.

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