Chinese police official urges caution in fight against terrorism

Monday, September 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BEIJING (AP) _ A top Chinese police official cautioned Monday against fighting terrorism with armed attacks that infringe on any country's sovereignty, saying such operations could ultimately make matters worse.

``We are opposed to the disregard of principles of international law in launching armed operations or violence under the pretext of `anti-terrorism' which infringe on the state sovereignty of others,'' said Xue Dongzheng of China's Public Security Ministry.

``This could only aggravate terrorism and violence,'' Xue said, according to an official translation of his speech. ``We also maintain that the fight against international terrorism should be based on international law as globally recognized.''

Xue's comments, presented at a meeting of law enforcement officials from Asia and Europe, did not specifically refer to possible U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. The conference was planned long before the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington, and a colleague of Xue said his speech was written weeks ago.

Beijing's top concern in many international disputes is sovereignty. It fears that agreeing to foreign intrusion abroad could set a precedent for intervention in Tibet and other restive Chinese regions.

At the same conference Monday, the ruling Communist Party's senior law enforcement official called for international cooperation against terrorism and said the attacks, which he condemned, underscore the urgency of tackling the problem.

The attacks ``not only brought disaster to the American people, but also challenged the sincere wishes for peace from people all over the world,'' Luo Gan said.

``This incident has shown once again the urgency and importance of strengthening dialogue in the international community, developing cooperation and jointly combating international terrorist activities and other cross-border crimes,'' Luo said.

China has sealed its border with Pakistan for fear that terrorists might seek refuge in China.

The border was completely closed for two days from Sept. 12, the day after hijackers crashed jetliners into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, said a government spokesman in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang.

China has since reopened the border to travelers going to Pakistan, but the border is closed to people of all nationalities coming in from Pakistan, said the spokesman, Ablimit Ibrahim.

``It's a preventive measure,'' he said.