China media: Islamic State

Barack Obama has urged the international community to come together against the Islamic State Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Barack Obama has urged the international community to come together against Islamic State

Papers urge China to play a "cautious" role in the US-led fight against the militant group Islamic State (IS).

IS, also often referred to as Isil or Isis, has taken over large swathes of Iraq and Syria in recent months, declaring the land it controls a "caliphate".

US President Barack Obama spelt out his strategy in an address to the nation on Wednesday on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Mr Obama said the US would "degrade and ultimately destroy" IS with help from its "friends and allies".

"China is willing to work with the international community to enhance exchanges and co-operation in counter-terrorism… on the principles of mutual respect and equal co-operation," Chinese foreign ministry's spokesperson Hua Chunying replied on Thursday when asked about China's role in the fight.

Analysts tell the Global Times that "China will provide moral support" but is "unlikely to directly join in the current stage" of the US-led coalition.

Zhao Weiming, an expert on Middle Eastern affairs at Shanghai International Studies University, says China's support will be "limited to the diplomatic level", and "it is not going to participate in any military actions against the IS".

Zhang Jiadong, an expert on American affairs at Fudan University, adds that China will not allow the US to destabilise Syria in the name of anti-terrorism.

"China might give a tacit consent to strikes against IS targets [in Syria], but it has a bottom line - no attack on Syrian government targets or civilian facilities," says the pundit.

The Global Times' Chinese edition voices support for the coalition, saying that "fighting IS is a right thing for the US to do".

However, it notes that the US has "always been putting its self-interests as the priority" and worries that the war "might have a strong start and a poor finish".

"As a Chinese media outlet, we support the fight against this extremist organisation in the Middle East, but at the same time, we have to highlight that this is a cautious support. China has a huge interest in the Middle East, we hope that when the US embarks on this war, Washington will not deliberately do anything that will harm China's interests," adds the paper. 

Reiterating the official position that "international law should be respected", the People's Daily calls for stronger international effort to deal with the terrorism.

Territorial dispute

Moving on to other news, state-run media outlets are commenting on the second anniversary of the Japanese government's decision to "nationalise" a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The Japanese government (which controls the islands) bought three of the islands - known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China - from their private Japanese owner in September 2012.

Relations between the two nations have been severely strained over the ongoing dispute.

"Japan must discard its fantasy about stealing the islands," warns an article in the People's Daily overseas edition.

"The illegal purchase of the islands is a farce that detriments China-Japan ties… Facts have shown, and will continue to show, that Beijing's position will be more resolute each time it faces provocations from Tokyo over the island dispute," says the daily.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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