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President Xi Jinping has said long-term stability in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is vital to the whole country's stability and national security. Xi made the remarks during an inspection tour to Xinjiang which ended on Wednesday. The four-day-tour is President Xi's first trip to the region since taking office in 2012.
In the rain, President Xi visited the Xinjiang Military Command, where he reviewed troops undergoing combat training.
He said the long-term stability of Xinjiang is vital to the whole country’s reform, development and stability, adding that safeguarding the country’s unity and fighting separatism are in the basic interests of all ethnic groups in the region.
In terms of fighting terrorism, he said China will deploy a "strike-first" strategy against terrorists in Xinjiang.
During an earlier visit to Kashgar's Public Security Bureau, Xi said the city sits on the front line of the country's anti-terrorism fight, and that police should have effective means to deal with terrorists.
"Police are the country's "fists and daggers". You should also protect yourselves to better serve the people and safeguard social stability," Xi said.
At a primary school, he observed a class and talked to the students.
He joined the students in the playground and held their small shoulders.
The president also visited local villages. He went into a farmhouse and was received by the owner as a distinguished guest.
He also sat down with the villagers to hear their voices.
"Anything that meets the aspirations of the common people will be the goal of the Communist Party of China. So the development and implementation of all future policies of the party will be aimed at meeting people's wishes and improving people's livelihood. The Han people can't do without ethnic minorities, and ethnic minorities can't do without Han. Different ethnic minorities can’t be separated. This kind of solidarity is the foundation for our development and progress," Xi said.
The population of Xinjiang region is predominantly Uyghur, as well as Han and more than 40 other ethnic minorities. Uyghurs make up over 60 percent of the population.
President Xi said the government will implement appropriate policies to improve ethnic harmony and common prosperity of all ethnic groups.
The President visited a mosque in the regional capital Urumqi. He expressed hopes religious people would continue to take a firm stance against extremism.
He urged them to assist local followers to better understand religious teachings, so that everybody can live in peace.