BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese-language song purportedly released by Islamic State shows the need for closer global cooperation against terrorism, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, as a senior official said the fight against Islamist militancy had made progress.
China relies on the Middle East for oil supplies, but tends to leave diplomacy there to the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, namely the United States, Britain, France and Russia.
It has urged greater coordination to fight terrorism after attacks in Mali and Paris and the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey, but has long said there is no military solution in Syria, with state media criticizing the West and Russia for air strikes there.
Over the weekend, Islamic State’s propaganda arm, Al Hayat media center, appears to have put online a recording in Mandarin that exhorted its “Muslim brothers” to awaken.
In the four-minute song titled “I am Mujahid”, a man chants: “To die fighting on the battlefield is my dream,” and “No force can stop our advance”.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she could not comment on whether the recording was issued by Islamic State, but said it showed that “terrorism is the common enemy of mankind” and the need to stop extremists using the Internet.
“In the face of terrorism, no country can stand on its own, and the international community should stand closer together and cooperate to jointly strike against all forms of terrorism,” Hua told a regular news briefing on Tuesday.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told a separate briefing Beijing had already joined in anti-terrorism cooperation with Washington and Moscow, but gave no details.
“At present, relevant countries have proactively coordinated and consulted on their anti-Islamic State actions in Syria and they have had definite progress on fighting terrorism,” Cheng added.
As China’s economic and business interests abroad grow, it has increasingly been affected by the activities of militant groups.
Three Chinese executives were killed in Mali when Islamist militants stormed a hotel, and Beijing vowed justice when the Islamic State killed a Chinese captive in November.
Chinese officials warn that some Muslim Uighurs, an ethnic group from the western region of Xinjiang, have traveled to battlegrounds in Syria and Iraq.
The government says it faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists in energy-rich Xinjiang, where hundreds have died in violence in recent years.
Rights groups, however, doubt that a cohesive militant Islamist group exists there, saying the violence stems from popular anger at Chinese controls on religion and culture.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Michael Martina; Editing by Clarence Fernandez