Newspaper article China Post

East Asia's Role in the War on Terrorism

Newspaper article China Post

East Asia's Role in the War on Terrorism

Article excerpt

Within a week of the terrorist attacks on Paris and bombings in Beirut, a hotel siege was carried out in Mali on Friday, leading to at least 21 killed as of press time. What is also alarming is how media reports show that similar threats were made to Malaysia during its hosting of the ASEAN summit, implying that the threat from terrorism will likely enter another stage in Southeast Asia.

While Malaysian authorities have yet to confirm whether the terrorism threats were real, up until now, East and Southeast Asian countries have been lucky in avoiding the attention of Islamic State, which has concentrated its reign of terror in Syria, neighboring countries and Europe.

Luck could have run out, as mainland Chinese authorities have expressed rage over the IS decision to kill two hostages last week - a Chinese man along with a Norwegian. According to Chinese state media, over 1,000 Chinese tourists were in Paris at the time of the attacks - including a citizen who was shot but is currently in a good condition.

At least seven Chinese citizens were also among the 170 hostages held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, according to Chinese media. With its citizens caught up in a war so far away from home, China's response will likely prove to be important in the war on terrorism, which up until now, has been one waged between Islamic militants and Western countries.

But just how will China respond? The Chinese Foreign Ministry has made its stance on the Paris attacks clear: it is "a common challenge faced by all humanity." How it will deal with the threat remains vague, and it has yet to commit to launching airstrikes against IS, according to reports from foreign media.

In reality, IS-related threats have always been very close to China. In fact, they're already well within its doors. The government has described its role in the fight against terrorism by describing how Uighur separatists within the country, also known as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a U.N.-listed terror group, were becoming successfully enlisted by IS.

China is already indignant about how Western countries have not placed significant importance on many terrorist attacks within its borders, especially those coming out of Xinjiang, according to state media. …

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