China says reached ‘broad consensus’ with UN after Xinjiang visit

Residents walk through a security checkpoint into the Hotan Bazaar where a screen shows Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hotan in western China's Xinjiang region. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
Updated 17 June 2019
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China says reached ‘broad consensus’ with UN after Xinjiang visit

  • US and other Western countries objected to a visit by the UN counterterrorism chief to Xinjiang
  • UN experts say a million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centers there

BEIJING: China and the United Nations have reached a “broad consensus” about counter-terror work, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday after a controversial visit by a senior UN official to the restive far western Chinese region of Xinjiang this week.
The United States and other western countries objected to a visit by the UN counterterrorism chief to Xinjiang, where UN experts say some one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centers.
Diplomats said that along with the United States several other countries, including Britain, complained about the trip of Vladimir Voronkov, a veteran Russian diplomat who heads the UN Counterterrorism Office.
US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan spoke with UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday “to convey deep concerns” about Voronkov’s trip because “Beijing continues to paint its repressive campaign against Uighurs and other Muslims as legitimate counterterrorism efforts when it is not.”
In a brief statement, China’s Foreign Ministry said that Voronkov had visited Beijing and Xinjiang from June 13-15, meeting senior diplomats including Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng.
The two sides “had a deep exchange of views on the international counter-terrorism situation and counter-terrorism cooperation between China and the United Nations, and reached a broad consensus,” the ministry said, without giving details.
China and the world need to stand together to fight terror, and China supports the work of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office, the statement added.
China has been condemned internationally for setting up the detention complexes, which it describes as “education training centers” helping to stamp out extremism and give people new skills.
Voronkov visited Xinjiang before UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who has repeatedly pushed China to grant the United Nations access to investigate reports of disappearances and arbitrary detentions, particularly of Muslims in Xinjiang.
Guterres raised the plight of Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region with the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, during a visit to Beijing in April.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has been in the Central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan over the past few days, where he has spoken of the importance of fighting extremism and terror. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry)


UN nuclear watchdog chief Amano has died, IAEA tell member states

Updated 8 min 33 sec ago
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UN nuclear watchdog chief Amano has died, IAEA tell member states

  • The 72-year-old Japanese had held the position of IAEA director general since 2009
  • Argentina's ambassador to the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, is running to succeed Amano, and diplomats say the agency's chief coordinator Cornel Feruta of Romania, effectively Amano's chief of staff, is likely to run

VIENNA: UN nuclear watchdog chief Yukiya Amano has died, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Monday, just as he was preparing to step down because of an unspecified illness.
The 72-year-old Japanese had held the position of IAEA director general since 2009, taking over from Mohamed ElBaradei and steering the UN agency through a period of intense diplomacy over Iran's nuclear program.
He had been preparing to leave his position in March, well before the end of his third four-year term, which ran until Nov. 30, 2021.
The IAEA announced last September that Amano had undergone an unspecified medical procedure. The specific nature of his illness has remained a taboo subject within the agency, diplomats say, but with each public appearance he had appeared increasingly frail.
“The Secretariat of the International Atomic Energy Agency regrets to inform with deepest sadness of the passing away of Director General Yukiya Amano,” the secretariat's note read.
The note did not lay out a timeframe for naming his successor, though a race to succeed him had been taking shape since last week, when it became clear he would step down early.
Argentina's ambassador to the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, is running to succeed Amano, and diplomats say the agency's chief coordinator Cornel Feruta of Romania, effectively Amano's chief of staff, is likely to run. Others could also enter the fray.