China, US agree to boost cooperation on fighting terrorism

Updated: 2014-07-17 00:12

By CHEN WEIHUA in Washington(China Daily USA)

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China and the United States have agreed to increase cooperation on fighting terrorism, according to Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping.

Cheng told reporters after a five-hour meeting on Tuesday with his US counterpart, Tina Kaidanow, ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department, that the two countries share common interest and concerns in counterterrorism. He described the first round vice-ministerial level dialogue as an important sign for strengthening cooperation and building trust in the political arena.

"Terrorism poses a direct threat to the United States, and China has also made fighting terrorist activities as a top priority for maintaining social stability," said Cheng, who became vice foreign minister in 2011.

He said that the two sides reached widespread consensus after discussing each other's concerns and future cooperation on counterterrorism. He also described the talk as a good start for the vice-ministerial level mechanism, saying he is fully confident about counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries.

China and the US now maintain more than 90 mechanisms of dialogue over a wide range of issues.

China's key concern on counterterrorism is fighting the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) to ensure stability and development in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China, according to Cheng.

He said the US has expressed understanding about China's concerns and responded positively for cooperation on the issue. The Chinese side also made it clear that China opposes "double standards" in counterterrorism.

The counterterrorism dialogue is a result of the sixth session of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) held in Beijing last week, when US Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew headed a large US official delegation to discuss with their Chinese counterparts a lengthy list of bilateral, regional and global issues.

The document from the strategic track of the S&ED states that the two sides condemn all forms of terrorism and are committed to reinforcing counterterrorism cooperation.

China has been supportive in US efforts to fight terrorism following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, but many Chinese felt disappointed or angry when terrorist activities have occurred in China, the US government has been slow or even reluctant to condemn, as exemplified by several terrorist activities in China carried out by ETIM affiliates.

At the S&ED dialogue last week, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, a former foreign minister, stressed that terrorism is terrorism.

"Whenever it occurs, in whatever form out of whatever kind of reason and whoever it is targeted, the international community should take a clear-cut opposition stance and work together to fight it without any double standards or triple standards," Yang said.

He described both China and the US as victims of terrorism, and said the bilateral mechanism in fighting terrorism established since 2001 has scored a number of positive results.

Confronted with increasing terrorism threats and challenges, both China and the US should make full use of the effective platforms, including the counterterrorism consultation, to boost cooperation and combat terrorism together, Yang said.