China supports Russian-led forces deployed to Kazakhstan to help quell unrest, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov late on Monday.
In a phone call held between the two parties and summarized by Chinese state media, Wang said that China supports the Kazakhstan president’s assessment that the source of the unrest was terrorist activity.
Read more: Russia deploys forces in Kazakhstan
What is happening?
Wang added that China and Russia should “oppose external forces interfering with the internal affairs of Central Asian countries,” and prevent “color revolutions” and the “three evil forces” from causing chaos, the readout stated.
China defines the “three evil forces” as religious extremism, territorial secessionism and violent terrorism and has described them as the cause behind the instability in Xinjiang province.
Government buildings in Kazakhstan were briefly captured or torched in several cities last week as initially peaceful protests against fuel price increases turned violent. Troops were ordered to shoot to kill to put down a countrywide uprising.
Authorities have blamed the violence on “extremists” including foreign-trained Islamist militants.
Authorities also asked a Russian-led military bloc to send in troops, who the government says have been deployed to guard strategic sites.
Read more: Is Kazakhstan Russia’s next Ukraine?
Looking at the Kazakhastan unrest
China’s President Xi Jinping on Friday told Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev that China resolutely opposed any force destabilizing Kazakhstan, Chinese state television said.
A number of “strategic facilities” in Kazakhstan have been secured by a Russia-led military alliance invited to restore order, Kazakh officials said Sunday, amid the deadliest outbreak of violence in the country’s 30 years of independence.
Dozens of people have been killed, thousands detained and public buildings have been torched across the Central Asian country in the past week, prompting President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to issue shoot-to-kill orders to end unrest he has blamed on bandits and terrorists.
At Tokayev’s invitation, the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) sent troops in to restore order, an intervention that comes at a time of high tension in Russia-U.S. relations ahead of new talks on the Ukraine crisis.
Reuters with additional input by GVS