Beijing: Pakistan Wednesday assured its all-weather ally China that its military operations have eliminated from its territory "almost all" Uighur separatists, who have sneaked into the country from China's restive Muslim-majority Xinjiang.
A military operation against "extremist and terrorism" had been "successful in eradicating the terrorism from our country", President Mamnoon Hussain today told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People here.
"It has also been very helpful in eliminating the ETIM (East Turkistan Islamic Movement)element from our country and I think almost all the ETIM people in our country have been eliminated," said Hussain, here for commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
"Maybe, if they are there, there should be very few," he said about the separatist group that China blames for attacks in Xinjiang, the far western region which has seen a wave of unrest and is home to China's 10 million Turkic-speaking, mostly ethnic Muslim minority, Uighurs.
China has in the past expressed concern to Pakistan that ETIM members have sneaked into the Pakistani territory to join training camps from Xinjiang which borders the PoK.
While Hussain called both China and Pakistan as "iron brothers", Xi told him that China considers its relations with Pakistan very important and vowed further cooperation between the two countries on international issues.
"China will continue to enrich the China-Pakistan community of shared destiny in a bid to make play an exemplary role for other neighbouring countries," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying.
"China will unswervingly support Pakistan's efforts in safeguarding its national security, and is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with Pakistan in international and regional issues," he said.
Xi added that China will keep in close contact with Pakistan on cooperation in industrial zones.
During Xi's visit to Islamabad in April, the two sides agreed to cooperate in areas including port construction, transport infrastructure, energy and industry.
During the trip, the two countries signed USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) linking China's Xinjiang with Pakistan's Gwadar Port in Baluchistan.
India objected to the project as it is being laid through the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
While there were no reference to the CPEC in Xi's remarks carried by Xinhua, Hussain said Pakistan is committed to building the corridor and will continue to strengthen cooperation and coordination with China in international issues.
Hussain noted "the great contribution" that the Chinese people made to the war 70 years ago and said Pakistan cherished its ties with China.