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BEIJING, Jan. 10 (Reuters) – China stands ready to strengthen “law enforcement and security” cooperation with neighboring Kazakhstan and oppose interference from “outside forces,” said Chinese Foreign Minister on Monday, after violent protests in the Central Asian country.
Wang Yi, who is also a state councilor, made the comments during an appeal to Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
“The recent unrest in Kazakhstan shows that the situation in Central Asia is still facing serious challenges, and it proves once again that some outside forces do not want peace and quiet in our region,” Wang told Tileuberdi. , cited by the ministry.
Government buildings in Kazakhstan were briefly captured or set on fire in several cities over the past week as initially peaceful protests against rising fuel prices turned violent. The troops were ordered to shoot to kill to quell an uprising across the country.
Authorities blamed the violence on “extremists,” including internationally trained Islamist militants, for the violence.
Authorities have also called on a Russian-led military bloc to send troops, which the government says have been deployed to guard strategic sites, a move disputed by the United States.
Experts say China fears instability in its neighbor could threaten energy imports and Belt and Road projects there, as well as security in its western region of Xinjiang, which shares a border of 1,770 km (1,110 miles) with Kazakhstan.
China was willing to “jointly oppose the interference and infiltration of any outside force,” Wang said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping told Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Friday that China resolutely opposes any foreign force that destabilizes Kazakhstan and sets off a “color revolution,” Chinese state television said.
China and Russia believe that the “color revolutions” are uprisings started by the United States and other Western powers for regime change.
“China does not want to see an expansion of US influence in Kazakhstan and Central Asia as a result of these unrest,” said Li Mingjiang, associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
“If a color revolution in a neighboring country leads to political democratization, it might encourage the liberal-leaning intellectual elite in China to try something similar,” he said.
Since the Vietnam War in the 1960s, China has traditionally not sent troops to other countries, citing its policy of non-interference, except under the banner of United Nations peacekeeping.
Last month, he sent six police officers to Solomon Islands to help train police forces and quell riots sparked by the country’s transfer of diplomatic relations to Beijing in 2019 from Taiwan.
Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Yew Lun Tian Editing by Robert Birsel and Raju Gopalakrishnan
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