HONG KONG — Chinese President Xi said Thursday he has seen a “clear and grave danger” from the spread of extremist ideologies in the Middle East, but he did not call for military intervention.
Chinese President Jinping said at a conference on Thursday that “if we want the world to fight terrorist groups, we have got to have courage.”
The comments were a rare public declaration of support for China’s response to the rise of radical Islamic ideologies.
China is currently the largest producer of oil in the world, the second largest exporter of natural gas, the biggest supplier of weapons and is also home to the largest number of people in the region.
China is the world’s second-largest arms exporter and has been a major supplier of arms to its neighbors, including the U.S. Xi made his remarks after the closing of a major international conference on the global fight against terrorism.
He also said that Beijing is willing to provide aid to the region, but stressed that “we have to be courageous to take action.”
China has already been the target of numerous terrorist attacks, including a deadly bombing last month in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin that killed at least 70 people.
The attacks came amid a surge in extremist propaganda and rhetoric, as well as the emergence of militant groups and social media sites that have encouraged followers to launch attacks in the country and abroad.
Last month, China said it was launching a nationwide security campaign to combat the spread and use of radical ideology, but it did not provide details on how it would go about it.
The U.N. has raised concerns about the growing use of social media to encourage violence and support for extremist groups, and Chinese authorities have expressed concern that China is not taking its own security measures seriously.
During a press conference with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, Xi also said the U,S.
and the rest of the world should join forces against extremist ideologies.
“The international community must be on the alert to counter these forces and fight against the spread … of extremist ideas,” Xi said.
“We must not allow them to spread their ideology and take advantage of the chaos and confusion created by the current crises.”
Xi was speaking as China was set to host the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which begins in Vietnam on Friday.