The Obama administration used the word “terrorism” to describe an attack by Muslim Uighur separatists in China’s Xinjiang region on Thursday, the International Business Times reported.
“The United States resolutely opposes all forms of terrorism,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement released Thursday in reaction to the attack, which killed 31 people and injured 90. A number of explosions rocked a marketplace in Urumqi, a city with a population of roughly 3 million people.
When asked to confirm that the “terror” label was the first time the administration has used the world to describe attacks by the Uighur separatists, the White House declined.
“The statement speaks for itself,” a spokeswoman told IBT.
“The international community has been slow to treat Uighur violence as terrorism; they have shied away from using the term. Typically, what you will hear out of the White House is words like condolences or tragedy, but not terrorism,” Max Abrahams, a professor of political science at Northeastern University in Boston, told IBT. “It is an important step for Washington to recognize the attack as terrorism.”