China urged the United States on Thursday to repatriate Uighur "terrorist suspects" soon, after the tiny Pacific nation of Palau agreed to temporarily resettle up to 17 detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
"China urges the US to implement the UN Security Council's relevant resolutions and its international obligations on counter-terrorism," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.
"(The US should) stop handing over terrorist suspects to any third country so as to (repatriate) them to China at an early date."
The United States cleared the men of wrongdoing four years ago but they remained at the controversial Guantanamo Bay camp in Cuba due to fears they would be tortured if handed to Beijing.
The detainees were part of a group of 22 Uighurs living in a self-contained camp in Afghanistan when the US-led invasion of the country began in October 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
Five of the Uighurs have been resettled in Albania, which was reluctant to accept any more after incurring the anger of China.
Xinjiang, a vast area of western China that borders Central Asia, has about 8.3 million Uighurs, and many members of the mainly Muslim community say they have suffered under Chinese political and religious persecution for decades.