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Obama calls for US-China anti-terror cooperation


Beijing, Nov 11 (PTI) Calling for strong US-China anti-terrorism cooperation to fight the Islamic State terror group, President Barack Obama today also denounced the violent acts of Xinjiang-based ETIM militant outfit, which he said must not be allowed to establish safe havens in the area.

In comments that could go down well with the Chinese leadership, Obama w+ho is currently visiting China to take part in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, said as terrorism has become a global challenge, US opposed terrorism in all its forms and is willing to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation with China on fighting the Islamic State in the Middle East and other issues.

Referring to recent acts by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), including the knife attacks targeting passengers at a crowded railway station in Kunming city and various attacks in Xinjiang, Obama told state-run Xinhua news agency that he was appalled by these acts of terror, and extended deepest condolences and the sympathies of the American people to the victims and their families.

“As a husband and a father, I cannot even begin to imagine the grief of these families who lost a loved one. Terrorist groups like ETIM should not be allowed to establish a safe haven in ungoverned areas along China’s periphery,” he said.

His remarks about ungoverned areas along China’s periphery were seen as a reference to Pakistan’s tribal areas as well as parts of Afghanistan where ETIM, an al-Qaeda backed outfit, was stated to have training camps.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who visited China few days ago also promised to step up crackdown on the ETIM, which is fighting for separation of Xinjiang from China.

Obama’s criticism of ETIM before his scheduled talks with Xi tomorrow was significant as Rebaya Kadeer, a prominent Uygur businesswoman-turned-activist for Uygur rights in Xinjiang, is based in the US which China views with suspicion.

Observers say that ETIM has become active in Xinjiang largely taking advantage of the unrest among 11 million native Muslim Uygur community over large-scale settlement of Hans from different Chinese provinces. Uygurs, a Turkic-speaking minority, are closely linked to Turkey and some of the militants have joined the dreaded IS.

Obama said counter-terrorism is an area where the two nations could strengthen cooperation, specifying that the US and China could work together in stemming the flow of foreign fighters and cracking down on terrorist funding networks. China also looks to play a big role in Afghanistan when US troops leave in the next few months.

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