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Match rhetoric with action on terrorism
China Daily  Updated: 2005-11-11 05:56

The average Chinese believes our consistent advocacy of peaceful coexistence in terms of state-to-state relations, loyalty to justice and our persistent sympathy for the weak serves as a reliable safeguard against international terrorism.

However, the suicide bombings in Amman, the Jordanian capital, on Wednesday night, which left three Chinese citizens dead and another injured, have shown that terrorism is never far away.

There were dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. There is no clue as to what entity is behind the attacks, or why they were carried out, though there is a suspicion the attacks were carried out in the trademark al-Qaida style.

There is no evidence that Chinese nationals were the targets. Most likely, our tragic loss was what some term collateral damage.

The tragedy is a bloody reminder that no country, our own included, can claim security until all countries are safe from terror.

Until Wednesday night, Amman, and the three bombed hotels in particular, had been popular safe havens for foreigners working in neighbouring Iraq.

Terrorism's indiscriminate threat to innocent lives determines it as a common enemy of humanity. For that reason, our condemnation of terror has to be complete and unconditional.

It is heartening to hear Jordanian King Abdullah's vow that the bloodshed would not sway Jordan from continuing its battle against terrorism.

All the way from New York to New Delhi, and now Amman, terror has failed to scare off any country or government.

It is reassuring to hear national leaders, including President Hu Jintao, reiterate their countries' commitments to the fight against terror.

Such a show of solidarity is essential. Unless all countries commit whole-heartedly to the world's joint defence against terror, terrorist cells will survive and thrive.

In his remarks on the Amman carnage, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan focused on international collaboration.

It is disappointing that much of the rhetoric about solidarity has fallen short of substance in reality.

It was a shame the draft Document of Achievements that was rushed through the 59th UN assembly in September had to sidestep such a clear imperative facing all countries.

The document featured "strong condemnation" of all forms of terrorism, irrespective of the who, where and why.

But ironically, countries were unable to agree on what terrorism stands for.

How can you aspire to fight terrorism of "all forms" without even knowing what it is?

The cracks in the international alliance in the so-called war on terror, which emerged in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, are the logical outcome of the absence of such consensus.

As long as countries stick to diverging gauges of terror, all the talk about solidarity rings hollow.

Unless some governments abandon their private agendas, a uniform definition of terrorism is out of the question.

(China Daily 11/11/2005 page4)

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