China says it supports Russia deploying forces to Kazakhstan to quell unrest

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A still image from video released by Russia's Defence Ministry shows Russian service members disembarking from a military aircraft, as part of a peacekeeping mission of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation amid mass protests in Almaty and other Kazakh cities, at an airfield in Kazakhstan, January 7, 2022. Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

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SHANGHAI, Jan 11 (Reuters) - 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 summarised by Chinese state media, Wang said that China supports the Kazakhstan president’s assessment that the source of the unrest was terrorist activity.

Wang added that China and Russia should "oppose external forces interfering with the internal affairs of central Asian countries", and prevent "colour revolutions" and the "three evil forces" from causing chaos, the readout stated.

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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. read more

Authorities have blamed the violence on "extremists" including foreign-trained Islamist militants. read more

Authorities also asked a Russian-led military bloc to send in troops, who the government says have been deployed to guard strategic sites.

China's President Xi Jinping on Friday told Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev that China resolutely opposed any force destabilising Kazakhstan, Chinese state television said.

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Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Michael Perry

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