China reiterated on Tuesday its condemnation of, and opposition to, any form of terrorism and called for international efforts to root out such terrorist forces as "East Turkistan."
"What I would like to point out emphatically is that China is a victim of terrorism too," Chinese President Jiang Zemin said at the summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), which opened Tuesday morning.
Addressing the meeting attended by heads of state and government and representatives from the 16 member states, Jiang said the separatists of the so-called "East Turkistan" are "an out-and-out terrorist force" and they committed terrorist crimes not only in China but also in other countries.
"To root out this notorious force is part and parcel of the international efforts of counter-terrorism, which serve the common interests of all countries in the region," he said.
Jiang extended "heartfelt thanks" to the countries concerned for their understanding of, support for and assistance to the fight against "East-Turkistan" terrorism.
China is committed to international efforts and actions against terrorism and it has already conducted effective cooperation with countries or organizations concerned in this regard, the Chinese leader said.
"Even before the September 11 attacks, China and the other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization had signed the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism and are now stepping up efforts to set up a regional anti-terrorism agency," he added.
Conceived as a forum for discussing regional stability and security with emphasis on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, Tuesday's conference also provided an opportunity to defuse tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir.
Both Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf are attending the summit and Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to be the mediator.
The CICA was first proposed by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the 47th U.N. General Assembly in 1992 for establishing a regional forum aimed at increasing security and cooperation in Asia.
The 16 member states of the CICA are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Palestine, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.
Later in the day, before winding up their one-day summit, the CICA leaders are expected to adopt and sign the Almaty Act and the CICA Declaration on Eliminating Terrorism and Promoting Dialogue Among Civilizations, two documents designed to strengthen security and increase mutual trust among the member nations.
(Xinhua News Agency June 4, 2002)