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China, Organization of Islamic Conference pledge mutual support on Palestine, Middle East issues

BEIJING, June 22 (Xinhua) -- China and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Tuesday pledged to support each other on the Palestine and the Middle East peace process issues.

The pledge was made in a statement jointly issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the OIC after OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu visited China from June 17 to 21.

Both sides have explored ways to enhance consultation and cooperation between China and the OIC, particularly in political, economic and cultural fields, the statement said.

In the statement, the Chinese side emphasized it attaches importance to the role played by the OIC as an influential intergovernmental organization.

The OIC emphasized it respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China, the statement said.

Both sides said they oppose terrorism, separatism and extremism in any form.

Ihsanoglu was invited to China by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

During his visit, top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun and Director-General of the National Administration for Religious Affairs Wang Zuoan met him.

Besides Beijing, Ihsanoglu also visited Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China.

The Chinese side and the OIC delegation said their discussions were productive.

Both sides highlighted the historical dimension to the China-Muslim World relationship, referring to the centuries-old bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two great civilizations.

The two sides said they will continue to cooperate to further the existing relationship.

During the visit, the Chinese side briefed the secretary general on China's ethnic and religious policies, stressing that China is a unified multi-national state jointly built by people of various nationalities,

The Chinese side also told the secretary general China protects the lawful rights and interests of its minority nationalities and upholds a relationship of equality and unity.

The Chinese government is promoting the economic, political, cultural and social progress of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to bring Xinjiang's regional per capita GDP up to the national average by 2015.

Ihsanoglu briefed the Chinese side on the OIC and its Charter and the basic principles upon which it is based: promotion of international peace and security on the basis of mutual respect; and dialogue and understanding among all civilizations, cultures and religions.

Both sides agreed to jointly organize an academic seminar on the historical relationship between China and the Muslim World with a view to making it a concrete manifestation of their friendly relationship.

Both sides stressed that China and the OIC should work together to carry forward their traditional friendship with increased exchange and cooperation.

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