China appoints new military commander in restive Xinjiang – News Vibe24

    China appoints new military commander in restive Xinjiang - Times of India
    BEIJING: China has appointed a new military commander in troubled Xinjiang, where authorities have shut down more than a million members of Muslim minorities in what they call an effort to curb terrorism and radicalism.
    Lt. Gen. Wang Haijiang will oversee a massive military presence in the vast northwestern region bordering several volatile Central Asian states, along with Pakistan and Afghanistan, from which US troops are withdrawing.
    Like the hard-line leader of the Xinjiang Communist Party, Chen Guangguo, Wang served in Tibet, which also hosts large numbers of troops to quell anti-government sentiment among the indigenous Tibetan population and two nations have had a deadly conflict last year.
    Wang’s unannounced appointment was revealed on Xinjiang Military District’s social media feed showing him presiding over a senior officers’ retirement ceremony on Wednesday.
    Wang saw a battle during a border war with Vietnam in the early 1980s and served in an elite unit of the People’s Liberation Army, according to state media reports.
    The US withdrawal from Afghanistan is of particular concern to Beijing, which fears a resurgence of militant Islam on its borders.
    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last week hosted a Taliban delegation, which is making rapid territorial gains in Afghanistan and is currently engaged in battles for major cities.
    Wang told officials that China hopes the Taliban will focus on peace talks and work for unity among all factions and ethnic groups.
    He also said China hoped the Taliban would “deal decisively” with the Islamic Movement of East Turkestan, a group that China claims is leading an independence effort in Xinjiang.
    Unconfirmed reports say several hundred fighters allied with ETIM are present in northeastern Afghanistan, although many experts doubt the group exists even in any form of operation.

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