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Musharraf backs China over crackdown

BEIJING, China -- Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf has promised to support China's crackdown on Muslim separatists, as the two governments affirm their support for Afghanistan's post-Taliban government.

Reports in China's state media say Musharraf assured China's leaders that its longtime ties with Pakistan were sound, despite his government's growing relationship with the United States sparked by the war on terrorism in Afghanistan.

China is eager to make its fight with separatists in its northwestern Xinjiang region part of the American-led anti-terror campaign, though Washington has rejected that link, the Associated Press reports.

Beijing says hundreds of guerrillas from its Uighur minority have trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"Pakistan will wholeheartedly support China's battle to strike against the East Turkestan terrorist forces," state television quoted Musharraf as telling Vice President Hu Jintao.

East Turkestan is another name for Xinjiang.

Musharraf met Friday with Premier Zhu Rongji; Li Peng, chairman of China's legislature and the most senior Communist Party leader after President Jiang Zemin; and other leaders.

Musharraf held wide-ranging talks Thursday with Jiang.

The visit marks 50-years of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China, and Musharraf's warm reception has emphasized the ongoing strength of that alliance.

After meeting Premier Zhu, Musharraf was praised over his handling and role in the situation in Afghanistan.

"Quite frankly speaking, I am worried about you almost every day," Zhu told Musharraf. "But I should say I have been happy for you every day."

Rising tensions

Relations between India and Pakistan are expected to feature highly on the agenda of talks behind closed doors following the suicide attack on Indian parliament last week.

As Musharraf arrived in Beijing, China called on India and Pakistan to resolve through diplomacy the uneasy relationship between the two nuclear neighbors.

But Musharraf would not comment publicly on the rising tensions between India and Pakistan

There have been reports and denials of troop build-ups on both sides of the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region.

India has blamed the attack on two Pakistani-based militant groups which it says have ties and support from Islamabad.

China shares a slice of Kashmir and has shown it is uneasy over the sudden U.S. military build-up on its western flank in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asian republics -- regions Beijing regards as key to its security.

China has long been a source of economic aid to Pakistan as well as a key military ally.

Several Western intelligence agencies believe Pakistan's nuclear weapons were built using Chinese supplied technology and know-how.



 
 
 
 



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