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China opposes any attempt to destabilise Kazakhstan, says President Xi; extends support to Tokayev

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Beijing, Jan 7 (PTI) Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday threw his weight behind beleaguered Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev who is tackling an unprecedented and bloody public protest at home, saying Beijing firmly opposes any attempt to destabilise the neighbouring country.

China firmly opposes any force undermining Kazakhstan’s stability, threatening the country’s security, and sabotaging the peaceful life of the Kazakh people, Xi said in a verbal message to Tokayev, who has already sought support from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Xi said China strongly rejects any attempt by external forces to provoke unrest and instigate “colour revolutions” in Kazakhstan, as well as any attempt to harm the friendship between China and Kazakhstan and disrupt the two countries’ cooperation.

He said Tokayev has taken decisive and effective actions at a critical moment, quickly calming the situation and showing the sense of responsibility as a statesman, and demonstrated high responsibility, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

As a fraternal neighbour and permanent comprehensive strategic partner of Kazakhstan, China is ready to provide necessary support to help the former Soviet republic to overcome the difficulties, Xi said.

China shares an over 1,000-mile border with Kazakhstan and has a population of more than 2 million Kazakh-origin people, mainly in its Xinjiang province.

Reports from Kazakhstan said the country is experiencing its worst public protests since gaining independence three decades ago.

The protests which began over a near-doubling of prices for a type of vehicle fuel, quickly spread across the country, reflecting wider discontent over the rule of the same party since independence.

As Xi expressed his backing of Tokayev, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said China is willing to do its best to provide the necessary support to Kazakhstan and help it tide over difficulties.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China has noticed that the Kazakh authorities are taking a series of powerful measures to combat violence and terrorism and maintain social stability.

Wang hinted at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to restore normalcy in Kazakhstan.

The SCO is an eight-member economic and security bloc consisting of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.

Wang said it is the consistent purpose and task of the SCO to maintain the security and stability of the member states and the region.

China and other SCO member states pay close attention to the domestic situation in Kazakhstan, and believe that the Kazakh authorities can properly resolve the problem, support Kazakhstan in stabilising the situation as soon as possible, and are willing to promote the SCO playing an active role in this regard, Wang said.

According to reports from Kazakhstan, Tokayev has called on a Russia-led military alliance for help.

The alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, includes the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and has started deploying troops to Kazakhstan for a peacekeeping mission.

As protesters burned down government buildings and killed over a dozen law enforcement officers, Tokayev on Friday said he has permitted law enforcement agencies to open fire and kill “terrorists” Internet services have been cut across the country and flight services in its commercial hub, Almaty has been suspended. PTI KJV IND AKJ IND

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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