China has requested for a United States support in fighting and battling Islamist militants in the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang, saying they are likewise a threat to the International communities.
Chinese authorities say the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM, initiates Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority from Xinjiang, and trains them with extremist radicals in Syria and Iraq with the aim of coming back to China to wage holy war.
China claims that ETIM exists as the coherent group. But foreign experts, however, have questioned whether if its really pose as a serious threat in this region.
The risk of fear develops “more confounded and extreme by the day”, China’s Foreign Ministry said late on Tuesday following a meeting between Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping and Tina Kaidanow, Ambassador-At-Large for the US State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism.
“China focused on the serious risk of ETIM and other East Turkestan terror organizations to China, United States and the international community and asked that the United States vigorously bolster and help China in fighting the efforts of East Turkestan terrorism forces,” the ministry said.
Both sides agreed to combat cyber terrorism and violent extremism and strengthen anti-terrorism intelligence, it added.
In recent years, hundreds, maybe thousands, of Uighurs have illegally crossed the Chinese border, travelling to Turkey via Southeast Asia.
Beijing denies the right’s group’s allegations, saying migrants are fleeing because of Chinese controls on their religion and culture and an ethnic violence in Xinjiang province.
Hundreds of people have died in unrest in Xinjiang in the last three years, blamed by Beijing on Islamist militants, but Chinese officials have offered little evidence that the violence is linked to ETIM, which Washington deemed a terror group after the September 11 attacks in 2001.
A few authorities in the US government secretly scrutinized the extent of the organization’s impact and influence in Xinjiang, in spite of the fact that experts note that US rhetoric on the group may be swinging back for Beijing.
China has ramped up counter-terrorism efforts following deadly attacks in recent years, including a mass stabbing in March 2014 at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming in which 31 people were killed.
The government is on heightened alert ahead of an international athletics event in Beijing this month and a parade also in Beijing in September to mark 70 years since the end of the second world war.
“The bottom line is anti-terrorism work must be implemented well to ensure terrorist plots are foiled before they can be carried out,” the state-run Xinhua news agency quoted deputy public security minister Huang Ming as saying.