China on Tuesday strongly backed Pakistan on the issue of terrorism, even as Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani held talks with top Chinese internal security officials here.

The issue has come under renewed focus with Chinese officials saying they were searching for "suspects" from Xinjiang, hours after five people were killed in Tiananmen Square when a car drove into a crowd and burst into flames.

China has, in the recent past, pointed the finger at Pakistan-based terror groups for fomenting violent attacks in its far-western Xinjiang region, which borders Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Besides meeting with Chinese military leadership, General Kayani – unusually for a visiting Army chief – also met with the Minister of Public Security, Guo Shengkun, who is responsible for internal security matters.

Asked if the issue figured in this week’s talks, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Tuesday only expressed China's strong backing to Pakistan on the issue, saying the government here was of the view that Pakistan “has made enormous efforts in cracking down on terrorism”.

“China supports Pakistan in making counterterrorism strategies based on its own national conditions. We are ready to work with Pakistan and other countries to strengthen cooperation in this area,” she said.

Huang Xilian, a Counsellor in the Foreign Ministry’s Asia Department and a top official in charge of South Asia policy, in a separate briefing with Indian journalists on Tuesday also backed Pakistan on the terror issue, saying the country “is a victim of terrorism”.

“All countries in this region should work together to tackle the menace of terrorism,” he said. As for Monday’s incident in Tiananmen Square, he would only say that the government was, as yet, “not sure of what nature it is”.

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