BEIJING – China called the killing of Osama bin Laden a landmark event in the fight against global terrorism and expressed support for close ally Pakistan amid suggestions Islamabad's security forces may have sheltered the world's most wanted man.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Tuesday that bin Laden's death in a U.S. raid on his Pakistani hide-out was a "milestone and a positive development for international anti-terrorism efforts."
China calls for closer international cooperation in attacking terrorism and its root causes, Jiang told a regularly scheduled news conference Tuesday, repeating the text of a statement issued the night before.
She said terrorism is the common enemy of the international community and that China has also been a victim.
Beijing says Muslim militants fighting for independence in the northwestern region of Xinjiang have links to international terror rings.
Bin Laden was killed in a large house close to a military academy in the northwestern Pakistan town of Abbottabad, not in the remote Afghan border region where many had assumed he was hiding.
That has been taken as a sign of possible collusion with Pakistan's security establishment, which Western officials have long regarded with suspicion.
Jiang said China had no doubts about Pakistan's determination in fighting terrorism, and that its actions had proven effective and were an important contribution to the global struggle.
"On this point, we really should not have any doubts," Jiang said.
The Chinese and Pakistani armed forces have close ties dating back decades, based largely on mutual suspicion of common neighbor India.