Saudi Arabia defends letter backing China's Xinjiang policy
By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia on Thursday defended signing a letter along with 36 other countries in support of China's policies in its western region of Xinjiang, where the United Nations says at least 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained. China has been widely condemned for setting up detention complexes in remote Xinjiang.
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia on Thursday defended signing a letter along with 36 other countries in support of China's policies in its western region of Xinjiang, where the United Nations says at least 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained.
China has been widely condemned for setting up detention complexes in remote Xinjiang. It describes them as "education training centres" helping to stamp out extremism and give people new skills.
Last week nearly two dozen nations at the U.N. Human Rights Council wrote a letter calling on China to halt it mass detention. In response, Saudi Arabia, Russia and 35 other states wrote a letter commending what they called China's remarkable achievements in the field of human rights.
When asked about Saudi's support for the letter, Saudi U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi told reporters in New York that the "letter talks about China's developmental work, that's all it talks about, it does not address anything else."
"Nobody can be more concerned about the status of Muslims anywhere in the world than Saudi Arabia," he said. "What we have said in that letter is that we support the developmental policies of China that have lifted people out of poverty."
A copy of the letter, seen by Reuters, said security had returned to Xinjiang and the fundamental human rights of people of all ethnic groups there had been safeguarded.
"Faced with the grave challenge of terrorism and extremism, China has undertaken a series of counter-terrorism and deradicalisation measures in Xinjiang, including setting up vocational education and training centres," the letter read.
Human Rights Watch U.N. Director Louis Charbonneau said Al-Mouallimi's characterisation of the letter was "a slap in the face of Muslims being persecuted in China, inaccurate to the point of absurdity."
Earlier this month the United States and Germany slammed China during a closed-door U.N. Security Council meeting over the detention centres. In response, China told diplomats them they had no right to raise the issue in the Security Council as it was an internal matter for his country.
In June the United States, Britain and other western countries objected to a visit by the U.N. counterterrorism chief to Xinjiang, concerned the visit would validate China's argument that it was tackling terrorism.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan spoke with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres ahead of the trip to convey Washington's concerns because "Beijing continues to paint its repressive campaign against Uighurs and other Muslims as legitimate counterterrorism efforts when it is not."
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Tom Brown)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
U.S. home sales fall as tight supply boosts prices | Reuters
France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.