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China's new security panel to target foes

world Updated: Nov 14, 2013 00:55 IST

Agencies
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China's decision to set up a national security committee is meant to rattle the nerves of those who mean to harm it, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

The ruling Communist Party announced the move in a communique at the end of a key four-day meeting to set the direction of reform for the next decade.

China is embroiled in a bitter territorial row with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea. It has also asserted its claims in the South China Sea more aggressively in recent months, while Washington has announced a foreign policy "pivot" towards Asia.

But foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang focused more on domestic threats when asked about the new committee at a regular briefing. "The establishment of the security committee will make forces like terrorism, separatism and extremism nervous," he added. "In short, all the forces who want to threaten and sabotage China's national security forces will get nervous."

The news of the security committee plan came two weeks after a fiery attack at Tiananmen Square, and days after bomb blasts at a provincial Communist Party headquarters blamed on a lone citizen reportedly intending to "take revenge on society".

Xi makes a mark
Beijing's plan to create a new security committee demonstrates President Xi Jinping's success in cementing his authority as Communist Party leader, analysts said.

Chinese academics for decades have advocated a body to oversee coordination among police, intelligence, military and other security organs, which have sometimes appeared out of step with each other or with the party's civilian leadership despite their emphasis on discipline and unity.

Former President Jiang Zemin tried in the 1990s to establish such agency, but his effort failed due to resistance from military and factions within leadership.