13 Jun 2009

China demands US return Uighur detainees

11:08 am on 13 June 2009

China has demanded that the United States return 17 Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay to China and not send them to the Pacific island nation of Palau, which has agreed to accept the detainees.

Palau's government said it would accept the detainees, known as Uighurs, both as a humanitarian gesture and to help the US President Barack Obama fulfill his promise to close the controversial prison for foreign terrorism suspects at the US Naval base in Cuba.

China sees the 17 as terrorist suspects, and has repeatedly called for their return.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang says China demands the US live up to international anti-terrorism obligations, stop the transfer of these suspects to any third country and repatriate them to China.

He says China opposes any third country accepting the suspects.