China promised Tuesday to punish Chinese citizens who joined the war in Afghanistan.
"It is estimated that hundreds of Eastern Turkistan terrorists accepted terrorism training in Afghanistan,'' Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said at a regular news briefing Tuesday. "Thus, it would not be strange if they were found taking part in the war.''
Eastern Turkistan terrorists maintain close relations with some international terrorist organizations, Zhang said. It was not clear how they would be punished.
She also said the Chinese Foreign Ministry will send a panel to Kabul to inspect the site of the Chinese embassy in the future.
She then announced that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf will visit China from December 20 to 24 to exchange views with Chinese leaders on international and regional affairs, including Afghanistan.
And from December 21 to 28, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan will visit the four Arab countries of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt as well as the headquarters of the League of Arab States.
Turning to legal matters, Zhang said the Chinese Government regrets a Japanese court's verdict in the case of Feng Jinhua.
Officials said Feng was sentenced to 10 months in prison with three years' suspension on Sunday after being accused of putting graffiti on a stone sculpture in front of the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.
China has told Japan several times that it should handle the case more justly and reasonably, Zhang said.
She said China deeply regrets the verdict and will continue to help safeguard Feng's rights.
As for the increasing violence in the Middle East, Zhang said the hope is that the emergency meeting of foreign ministers held by the Islamic Conference Organization in Qatar will alleviate the tension.
Meeting participants recognized the direness of the situation as well as the strong desire to achieve peace and stability, she said.
When asked why there is no celebration regarding China's formal accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO) Tuesday, the spokeswoman said it is more important for China to enjoy the rights associated with being a formal WTO member.
(China Daily December 12, 2001)