A top American diplomat says China and the United States are cooperating very well in the fight against terrorism. As he wrapped up a visit to Beijing, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage also announced U.S. action against a Muslim separatist group from China.
The number two official at the State Department says Washington has put the Muslim separatist group called ETIM on its list of terrorist organizations. The move is designed to hurt terrorist groups by making it difficult to raise money in the United States.
ETIM is the East Turkistan Islamic Movement. East Turkistan is the name of the Islamic state that independence-minded Muslim Uighers would like to set up in China's far western Xinjiang area.
China has accused the Muslim separatist group of bombings and assassinations in Xinjiang, and has jailed and executed Uighers accused of terrorism.
International human-rights groups have been critical of China's continuing harsh crackdown on Uighurs, suggesting that China is using the war on terrorism to quell minority dissent.
Mr. Armitage was careful to balance China's concerns about terrorism with the need to respect basic human rights. "We discussed not only that we put ETIM on the terrorist list, but the need as China moves forward in the very difficult anti-terrorism fight with the ETIM, the absolute necessity to respect minority rights, particularly Uighers in this case," said Mr. Armitage.
Mr. Armitage says Washington is grateful for Chinese support of U.N. resolutions that help fight terror groups. He says the two sides plan to hold more meetings to figure out how to block financing for terror groups and their operations.
After discussions with China's top military, political, and diplomatic officials Monday, Mr. Armitage welcomed news that China had put curbs on exporting missile technology. But he said he needed time to study the details before commenting further.
Just as Mr. Armitage arrived in Beijing, China's official Xinhua News Agency announced that the government instituted new licensing rules on exporting missile technology. Exporters must register and get official approval or face stiff penalties.
China promised in November 2000 not to help any country develop missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. But Washington has since complained that Beijing has been lax and has allowed companies to continue to supply missiles to Pakistan.
In response, the United States banned the launch of American commercial satellites on Chinese rockets. And in July, the State Department said the U.S. government would impose sanctions against nine Chinese companies for transferring sensitive equipment to other countries.