BEIJING— China has expressed strong support to the Philippine government’s efforts to suppress terrorism by declaring martial law in southern island of Mindanao.
”Terrorism is the common enemy of mankind. China understands and firmly supports the Philippine government in cracking down on terrorism,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said in a press conference on Wednesday.
Last Tuesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law after the Maute group stormed a village in Marawi City, capital of Lanao del Sur province.
According to media reports, around 18 people, including five soldiers, were killed and 31 others were wounded in the ensuing firefight.
The Maute group, which has declared allegiance to the Islamic State or ISIS, reportedly burned buildings, including a Catholic church and took a priest and several worshipers hostage.
The incident prompted President Duterte to cut short his five-day official visit to Russia to personally address peace and order in Mindanao.
Before leaving Russia, President Duterte met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
President Duterte had requested President Putin to grant the Philippines a soft loan to purchase firearms to combat terrorism, particularly in Mindanao.
”We believe under the leadership of Present Duterte, the Philippine government will surely safeguard security and stability in the Mindanao region,” Lu told the media.
Maute Group’s attack in Marawi City took place a day after a bomb explosion killed at least 22 people and injured 59 others at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.
The ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
Chinese President Xi Jinping joined world leaders in expressing their condolences over the death of innocent civilians, including children, in the Manchester concert explosion.
President Xi sent a condolence message to British Queen Elizabeth II, saying “Chinese people stand firmly with the British people at this difficult time.”
President Duterte had also sent his ‘deepest sympathies’ to the families of the victims of the Manchester incident.