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China, US Strengthen Anti-Terrorism Cooperation - 2001-10-05


China says it has stepped up its anti-terrorism cooperation with the United States since the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington. A delegation of Chinese intelligence and law enforcement experts came to Washington two weeks after the attacks for consultations with their U.S. counterparts. Embassy officials briefed a select group of reporters Thursday.

China says it stands together with the United States in the fight against international terrorism. Chinese embassy officials in Washington say Sino-U.S. anti-terrorism cooperation has been given new prominence in the aftermath of last month's attacks.

The officials say a Chinese delegation arrived in Washington September 25 to meet with counterparts in various U.S. agencies and share information on intelligence, law enforcement and the financial activities of terrorist groups.

As one example of cooperation, the embassy officials say, China has taken measures to cut off any terrorist access to Chinese banks. And, they say, China has informed the United States of one recent $3,000 transaction at a New York branch of a Chinese bank by someone connected to the U.S. list of suspected terrorists.

A U.S. State Department official described the talks as "wide-ranging" and "productive," and said they laid the groundwork for further cooperation. The official said the Chinese delegation met with representatives from several U.S. agencies involved in the U.S. anti-terrorism effort, including experts on China, terrorism and law enforcement.

Chinese embassy officials say the United States has briefed the Chinese government about evidence linking Saudi exile Osama bin Laden to the September 11 attacks, but the officials would not say if China finds the evidence convincing proof of Osama bin Laden's responsibility.

China says it supports the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism, as long as any actions by the international community are in line with the United Nations charter and international law.

China has strengthened its security presence along its 92-kilometer-long border with Afghanistan. It also has arrested suspected Muslim separatists in its far western region of Xinjiang. The embassy officials say they do not know if there are any links between the separatists in Xinjiang and Osama bin Laden's network.

Later this month, China is scheduled to host the annual summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Shanghai (October 20-21), for what will be the first large scale gathering of international leaders since the terrorist attacks in September.

The deputy chief of mission at the Chinese embassy in Washington, He Yafei, says his government is doing all it can to make sure no terrorist acts occur in Shanghai. "The Chinese police have been preparing for that for a long time, and we will have complete and thorough security check measures," he explains. "And during the meetings, the air over Shanghai will be tightly controlled. And we have air patrol [and] also have patrol in the water areas near Shanghai. We will make sure nothing happens."

President Bush plans to attend the APEC summit, but he will not go to Beijing on this trip, as originally planned.

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