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China calls to boost border defence along Xinjiang

PTI | Last Updated: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 22:18

Beijing: China`s Defence Minister Chang Wanquan on Tuesday directed authorities to boost border defences in the troubled Xinjiang province, which shares frontiers with PoK and Afghanistan, to prevent infiltration by Islamist militants.

He directed military units to consolidate border defences and create "a wall of copper and steel" on the frontier after a week-long inspection of the region.

Xinjiang, home of Uygur Muslims, experienced periodic riots and violent attacks over settlements of China`s ethnic majority Han in the region.

China blames the violence on the separatist East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an affiliate of al Qaeda, which has become active in the province in the last few years.

Xinjiang shares borders with PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir), Afghanistan and several Central Asian republics.

China is beefing up security ahead of the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan next year.

Chang told military units to lay a solid basis for Xinjiang`s long-term peace and stability by consolidating political power in grassroots governments and stepping up the fight against encroachment, separatist and terrorist activities.

He said Xinjiang`s stability was of great significance to safeguarding national unity, state security and the country`s social stability, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Military units were told to put in place defences at prominent places and contribute to the consolidation of the security on China`s borders.

First Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 22:18

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