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Zhu in Turkey, Vows to Fight Terrorism
Visiting Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji and his Turkish counterpart, Bulent Ecevit, wrapped up their meeting in Ankara Tuesday with a consensus to jointly combat international terrorism which poses a serious threat to world peace.

A spokesman for the visiting Chinese premier said formal talks between the two leaders also focused on further shoring up Sino-Turkish cooperation to consolidate the close cooperative partnership forged in the joint communique during President Jiang Zemin's tour of Ankara in April 2000.

The Turkish prime minister presided over a red-carpet welcoming ceremony that featured full state honors before talks began.

The two leaders condemned international terrorists and reached an agreement to strengthen cooperation between the two countries to crack down on terrorism.

Zhu expressed China's appreciation for Ankara's repeated statements in recent years that the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is part of China's territory and the concrete measures taken by the Turkish government to curb the splittist activities of East Turkistan forces.

These forces refer to a handful of people inside and outside Chinese territory who have planned and organized a series of violent incidents in Xinjiang with the aim of setting-up a state of "East Turkistan."

Guerrillas trained in Afghanistan are now seeking new bases to continue their separatist activities against China, and Turkey is "one of the major directions" they may choose, the Chinese premier said.

"A joint crackdown on East Turkistan forces conforms with the fundamental interests of the two countries in maintaining security and stability," Zhu said.

As two major countries at either end of Asia, he said China and Turkey share responsibility for combating terrorism and maintaining peace and stability in the region.

"We hope to further our cooperation and leave no single opportunity for East Turkistan forces to damage Sino-Turkish relations," the Chinese premier said.

Echoing Zhu's remarks, the Turkish prime minister said his government opposes international terrorism in any form and the settlement of the Afghan issue offers possibilities for Turkey and China to enhance cooperation in anti-terrorism.

Evecit pledged Turkey would further fight the East Turkistan forces in Turkey and his government would not give any support to their terrorist activities.

"Turkey is willing to enhance cooperation with China in this aspect," Evecit said.

The two leaders also expressed their deep concern over the current tense situation in the Middle East. "China strongly opposes Israel's aggression against Palestine and calls for a total withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian territories without any strings attached," Zhu said.

"At the same time, we condemn any violence against innocent people."

China has made positive efforts to prevent the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East and adopted a series of diplomatic measures to urge the pullout of Israeli forces and ensure the safety of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, Zhu said.

Turning to bilateral relations, Zhu saluted Turkey's unremitting efforts in developing relations with China and hoped the existing friendly relationship between the two nations would flourish.

Zhu also expressed his thanks for Turkey's consistent adherence to the one-China policy.

The two leaders agreed to expand Sino-Turkish trade and business links in a wider range of fields based on the principles of equality and mutual benefit.

Noting the Turkish deficit in bilateral trade, Zhu said the Chinese government is taking various measures to improve the balance.

Expressing his optimism on the prospects of bilateral trade ties, Evecit said he would like to see more Chinese investment in Turkey and more Chinese tourists.

Following their talks, the two leaders presided over the signing of four agreements on technological cooperation in agriculture, telecommunications and customs matters focusing on exchanging information and joint efforts in combating smuggling.

(China Daily April 17, 2002)

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