CHINA TO SUPPORT UZBEK PRESIDENT KARIMOV ON ANDIZHAN

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BEIJING, MAY 25, (RIA Novosti) - "China supports the efforts of Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries to preserve regional peace and stability," the Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesman Kong Quan noted. Commenting on the May 15 Andijan riots that killed many people, Kong Quan said that events in Uzbekistan were its "internal affair". According to Quan, "China supports Uzbek authorities' efforts to fight terrorism, separatism and religious extremism", as well as "joint efforts of Uzbekistan and other regional countries to maintain regional peace and stability." 

On May 25 President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan is to begin his two-day visit to China at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Addressing a briefing May 24, Kong Quan said that Islam Karimov will meet President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Weng Jiabao. In his words, the sides will discuss expanded Chinese-Uzbek relations and "specific measures to expand bilateral interaction."

"Both heads of state will also exchange opinions on regional and international issues," Kong Quan said.

""Documents on Chinese-Uzbek cooperation are to be signed after talks in Beijing," he added.

"China is ready to fight terrorism, separatism and religious extremism together with regional countries," the Chinese diplomat stressed.

A banned nationalist organization that operates in north-western China's Sinkiang-Uigur autonomous area wants to secede from Beijing. This area which borders on Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan has a predominantly Uigur population. China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Among other things, this organization aims to fight regional terrorism.

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