China has prevented “great tragedy” in Xinjiang, state-run paper says

Men install a CCTV camera in a shopping street in the old town of Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, in this March 23, 2017 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 13 August 2018
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China has prevented “great tragedy” in Xinjiang, state-run paper says

  • “There is no doubt that the current peace and stability in Xinjiang is partly due to the high intensity of regulations"
  • Maintaining peace and stability there is in the basic interest of people in Xinjiang and all of China

BEIJING: Massively stepped-up security in China’s restive far western region of Xinjiang has helped prevent “great tragedy,” a state-run newspaper said on Monday, in the country’s first response to a critical United Nations report on the situation there.
A UN human rights panel said on Friday that it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uighurs in China are held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy.”
China has said that Xinjiang faces a serious threat from militants and separatists who plot attacks and stir up tensions between the mostly Muslim Uighur minority who call the region home and the ethnic Han Chinese majority.
Hundreds have died in unrest there in recent years.
In joint editorials in its Chinese and English versions, the widely-read Global Times tabloid said criticism of the rights record in Xinjiang was aimed at stirring trouble there and destroying hard-earned stability.
China’s security presence there has prevented Xinjiang from becoming another Syria or Libya, it added.
“There is no doubt that the current peace and stability in Xinjiang is partly due to the high intensity of regulations. Police and security posts can be seen everywhere in Xinjiang,” the paper wrote.
“But it’s a phase that Xinjiang has to go through in rebuilding peace and prosperity and it will transition to normal governance.”
Maintaining peace and stability there is in the basic interest of people in Xinjiang and all of China, it added.
“The turnaround in Xinjiang’s security situation has avoided a great tragedy and saved countless lives, thanks to powerful Chinese law and the strong ruling power of the Communist Party of China,” the paper wrote.
“What the West has been hyping has destroyed numerous countries and regions. When the same evil influence was spreading in Xinjiang, it was decisively curbed.”
Xinjiang has “no room for destructive Western public opinions,” and all steps must be taken to ensure its stability, it said.
“Peace and stability must come above all else. With this as the goal, all measures can be tried. We must hold onto our belief that keeping turmoil away from Xinjiang is the greatest human right.”
China’s Foreign Ministry has not yet responded to a request for comment on the United Nations report.


US Secretary of State Pompeo makes unannounced visit to Kabul

Updated 57 min 7 sec ago
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US Secretary of State Pompeo makes unannounced visit to Kabul

  • Pompeo met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during an unannounced visit to Kabul to discuss ongoing peace talks with the Taliban
  • Pompeo stopped over on his way to New Delhi for meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other officials

KABUL: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during an unannounced visit to Kabul on Tuesday to discuss ongoing peace talks with the Taliban and the security situation ahead of Afghan presidential polls in September.
Pompeo stopped over on his way to New Delhi for meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other officials.
“With so much going on in the world right now it’s sometimes easy to forget about America’s commitment here to Afghanistan, but the world should know that the Trump administration has not forgotten, the American people have not forgotten,” Pompeo said in Kabul.
His visit to Afghanistan comes ahead of a seventh round of peace talks between Taliban leaders and US officials aimed at finding a political settlement to end the 18-year-old war in Afghanistan. The next round of peace talks is scheduled to begin on June 29 in Doha.
The talks between the United States and the Taliban will focus on working out a timeline for the withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan and on a Taliban guarantee that militants will not plot attacks from Afghan soil.
“While we’ve made clear to the Taliban that were prepared to remove our forces, I want to be clear, we’ve not yet agreed on a timeline to do so,” said Pompeo.
“We agree that peace is our highest priority and that Afghanistan must never again serve as a platform for international terrorism.”
He said the two sides are nearly ready to conclude a draft text outlining the Taliban’s commitment to join fellow Afghans in ensuring that Afghan soil never again becomes a safe haven for “terrorists.”
Momentum for talks with the Taliban is steadily building, with a special US peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, pushing the peace process and insurgent leaders showing serious interest in negotiating for the first time. Ghani has also offered repeatedly to talk with the Taliban but they have insisted that they will not deal directly with the Ghani government.
“All sides agree that finalizing a US-Taliban understanding on terrorism and foreign troop presence will open the door to intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiation,” Pompeo said, adding that next step is at the heart of the US effort.
“We are not and will not negotiate with the Taliban on behalf of the government or people of Afghanistan.”