Cooperation needed in terror fight

Updated: 2013-11-04 00:49

By ZHANG YUNBI (China Daily)

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China, Central Asia will face growing threat, experts say

China urgently needs to enhance its cooperation with other countries to combat terrorism, analysts said following the Tian'anmen Square terrorist attack.

"The threat of terrorism is not yet contained, and regional cooperation needs to be more pragmatic," said Li Wei, director of the anti-terrorism research center of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Global anti-terror efforts are "far from living up to the expectations of the international community", Li said.

After the United States withdraws its troops from Afghanistan in 2014, China and its neighbors to the west may face a tougher security situation amid increased penetration of extremists, experts warned.

Beijing Party chief Guo Jinlong asked for enhanced capacity to protect the Chinese capital from terrorist attacks after a jeep crash killed five people on Oct 28, Beijing Daily reported on Sunday.

The deadly incident was confirmed as a terrorist attack carried out by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement.

During an inspection tour on Friday and Saturday, Guo required authorities in downtown districts to strengthen urban management, especially of the migrant population.

China's top security chief Meng Jianzhu briefed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on the attack on Thursday.

"Many countries, including China, are under threat amid rising global terrorist activities" and China is determined to fight against violence and terrorist crimes, Meng said.

The SCO — which brings together China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — can "coordinate joint efforts to deal with problems that have proved thorny bilaterally", said Wang Lijiu, an expert at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

For example, China and Kyrgyzstan held their first joint anti-terror drill along the border on Aug 11 — involving around 460 armed police officers.

Late last month, Pakistan banned three extremist organizations that masterminded attacks in China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, including the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, Pakistani newspaper The News reported.

"Pakistan is a victim of international terrorism and has contributed to international anti-terror efforts," the Foreign Ministry told China Daily in a written reply. "China supports the Pakistani government continuing to combat terrorism in accordance with its national conditions and the demand of the international anti-terror fight."

The ETIM is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, and it is the shared responsibility and duty of all countries to follow UN resolutions and lawfully crack down on terrorist organizations, the ministry said.

Afghanistan is another anti-terror front, said Yang Cheng, deputy director of the Center for Russian Studies at East China Normal University in Shanghai.

The country wants to have "higher efficiency and frequency in collaborating with China and Central Asia in the post-2014 era", Yang said.

"Decentralized domestic politics, a tough power struggle and inefficient governing capability will give rise to the already rumbling disorder within Afghanistan," Yang said. "This is a concern."

Ma Yong, an anti-terrorist studies expert at Beijing Normal University, said a "serious, rumbling threat of terrorism" is still haunting China and its neighbors along the western border — including Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

Many of the terrorist groups in Central Asia and South Asia are staging more suicidal attacks "with funding from overseas and profits from drug dealing", Ma said.

President Xi Jinping told visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Oct 23 that the two countries should enhance cooperation on defense as well as on combating terrorism.

They will conduct their first counterterrorism exercise in five years this month, according to a joint statement released during Singh's trip.

Cooperation is needed as major Indian cities have become targets for terrorists to challenge the government, and the scope of the targets is still expanding, Ma said.