China has appealed for US support in fighting Islamist militants in the Xinjiang region, saying they are also a threat to the United States, Reuters reported.
Chinese officials say the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) recruits Uyghurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority from Xinjiang, and trains them with extremists in Syria and Iraq, with the intent of returning to China to wage holy war.
Many foreign experts, however, have questioned whether ETIM exists as the coherent group China claims it is, the report said.
The threat of terror grows “more complicated and severe by the day”, the 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 stressed the serious threat of ETIM and other East Turkestan terror organizations to China, the United States and the international community, and requested that the United States vigorously support and coordinate with China in combating the efforts of East Turkestan terrorism forces,” the ministry said.
Both sides agreed to combat cyberterrorism and violent extremism and strengthen antiterrorism intelligence, it said.
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 Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
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