Russia and Chinese military officials have agreed to coordinate their efforts in combating ethnic separatism in central Asia, a senior Russian officer said Saturday.
"Our most important task is to fight international terrorism by developing methods of early warning, working out effective actions and destroying terrorists," General Victor Manilov, the deputy chief of Russia's general staff said at the end of a week of high-level talks here.
"The position on this between Russia and China is identical."
While stating that Russia enjoyed China's full support on its long-term struggle against separatists in Chechnya, Manilov also indicated that Russia would support China's efforts to achieve reunification with Taiwan.
"On the Taiwan issue we have a very simple and clear position, there is only one China," Manilov said.
The two sides also discussed how to coordinate efforts to curb ethnic separatism in central Asia and in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in China's far west, where the Uighur Muslim minority has been involved in violent clashes with the Chinese authorities.
"Russian and China have a firm position on ethnic separatism and are opposed to the support of this kind of terrorism through the supply of weapons or materials," Manilov said.
Beijing has adamantly opposed US arm sales to Taiwan. Moscow has strongly backed Beijing's objections to a proposed National Missile Defense system, which could potentially include Taiwan.
Manilov refused to confirm or deny whether Russia was planning to sell China a fleet of advanced airborne radar systems or systems giving China's air force airborne refueling capacity.
Beijing is known to be interested in such systems, which could aid China in controlling air space over the Taiwan Strait in the event of any mainland-imposed blockade of the island.
China has recently begun licensed manufacturing of Russian Sukhoi SU-27 fighter jets. It is expecting delivery this month of a second advanced Russian Sovremenny destroyer and has also been engaged in talks to buy modern Sukhoi-30 fighter jets.
"Russian military sales to China are conducive to the interest of Chinese national security," Manilov said.
"These bilateral activities are not aimed at any third country, but are aimed at strengthening peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region," he stressed.
During the visit, Manilov met with China's vice chairman of the Central Military Commission Zhang Wannian, as well as the Chief of Staff of the People's Liberation Army Fu Quanyou and vice Chief Xiong Guangkai.
The talks were the fourth round of meetings between the headquarters of the general staff of both militaries, established as part of a bilateral strategic partnership set up in 1996 between former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
The partnership has resulted in a common stance against a perceived global political and economic dominance by the United States and its allies -- BEIJING (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)