By Chao Xiaoliang

Since assumption of office as Chinese Consul General in Lagos, my admiration toward Nigerian People’s endeavours to develop their own country has grown with each passing day.

Recently, with the gallant efforts from Nigerian Army and people, 82 Chibok girls were successfully rescued. I, same as other Chinese people, share the happiness and joyfulness of the great news. However, suicidal bombings and terrorist attacks still often occupy the local newspaper’s headlines. I can feel the pain and sorrow of Nigerian people.

China and Nigeria are both developing countries sharing a lot of similarities. We are once cradles of civilizations in the history and now most populous country and biggest economy in our respective regions. We are both striving for the great rejuvenation of our nations and have to face similar difficulties and challenges, and terrorism, undoubtedly, is one of the biggest challenges for both of us.

Just like Nigeria, China is a victim suffered from terrorism. The main terrorism threats in China originate from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the northwest of the country. “East Turkestan Islamic Movement” has committed numerous atrocities in many Chinese cities for the past decades. Chinese Government has put great efforts to curb or even eradicate the terrorism in China, but as a transnational problem, Counter terrorism requires for international cooperation.

The international community has made tremendous efforts in combating terrorism, but terrorism is far from being eradicated. It still seriously threatens international peace and security and it has evolved in forms and means. With regard to strengthening counter-terrorism cooperation, Chinese Government has put its positions as follows:

First, we need to fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries concerned. In combating terrorism, it is important to adhere to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries, fully listen to their views and opinions, and carry out international cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

Without global support, the fight against terrorism cannot be sustained. Therefore, the international community should provide more assistance to those developing countries who suffer from a lack of capacity while respecting the wishes of these countries.

Second, we need to leverage the role of the UN and its Security Council as the main channel of cooperation. Terrorism is a threat to global peace and security. China supports the important role of the UN and its Security Council in coordinating national efforts and shaping a global is important for countries to strictly abide by the relevant Security Council resolutions and fully implement the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

We welcome the establishment of the UN Counter-Terrorism Center, and we hope that there will be better coordination and greater synergy among the various counter-terrorism agencies of the UN.

Third, we need to adopt a comprehensive approach to address the root cause as well as the symptoms of this scourge. Terrorism is the result of a complex array of political, economic and social factors: it cannot be resolved by military means alone. Counter-terrorism efforts must be combined with economic growth and proper settlement of regional conflict.

There should also be more dialogues and exchanges between different civilizations, religions and ethnic groups so as to promote mutual understanding, tolerance and harmonious coexistence. A comprehensive approach involving political, economic and diplomatic means should be employed, if terrorism is to be rooted out altogether.

Fourth, we need to reject double standards. Terrorism is the enemy of all mankind.All terrorist activities, regardless of who commits them under what pretext and no matter where and when they take place, should be condemned and fought back. There should not be different standards for different attacks.

We should not bring ideology into the fight against terrorism or link it to any specific country, government, nationality and religion. On this point, the international community should build more consensus and speak in one voice.

To West Africa Specifically, counter-terrorism efforts in this region constitute a very important component of international counter-terrorism endeavors. China supports more assistance from international community in the region in their capacity building to fight terrorism and to enable the multinational joint task force to effectively conduct operations to further eliminate the sources of terrorism in the region.

The international community must respect the leading role of the regional organizations in addressing problems and make good use of the unique expertise and advantages of those organizations; the international community also should provide financial and technical assistance to those countries on the basis of respecting their sovereignty so that they could truly build their capacities to promote economic and social development.

Over decades, as a peace-loving and responsible country, China has continued to abide by its principled stand on counter-terrorism and expanded its role in international counter-terrorism cooperation, which has won worldwide respect. China is ready to work with the international community and countries concerned to support countries in West Africa in their efforts to achieve lasting peace and common prosperity and make contributions to peace and development in Africa.

His Excellency, Chao Xiaoliang is Chinese Consul General in Lagos