China media: South Asia ties

President Xi Jinping (right) met Maldives President Abdulla Yameen (left) on Sunday Image copyright AFP
Image caption President Xi Jinping (right) met Maldives President Abdulla Yameen (left) on Sunday

Media shine a spotlight on China's relations with South Asian nations as President Xi Jinping visits the region.

Mr Xi arrived in the Maldives on Sunday in the first leg of his trip to South Asia. He will visit Sri Lanka on Tuesday before arriving in India on Wednesday.

He is the first Chinese head of state to visit the Maldives since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations 42 years ago.

Mr Xi, in an article published by most papers, described the Maldives as a "true friend and a partner for co-operation". He said that both countries have "set a good example of mutual respect regardless of the size of the two countries".

Most papers are also commenting on his upcoming visits to India and Sri Lanka.

An article in the Liberation Daily states that it is "necessary for China to raise the level of co-operation" with the three South Asian countries.

It anticipates that Mr Xi's visit to India will be the "highlight" of his South Asia trip.

Echoing similar views, Wang Dehua, a South Asian affairs expert at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, tells the Global Times' Chinese edition that Mr Xi's trip to the region, particularly to India, will "dispel worries from the neighbouring countries over China's rise".

"Mutual political trust will be strengthened if both countries (India and China) expand their co-operation in trade and economy, and the people of the two countries benefit from it," he says.

Islamic State

Meanwhile, some papers urge the US to "back Syria" in order to eliminate the 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".

An article in the China Daily points out the importance of the Syrian government in the US-led fight against the militant group.

"The US military strategy is not likely to eliminate the IS as Mr Obama has claimed. The strategy has a fatal strategic flaw because the US is still insisting on targeting the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad, who is the only regional leader willing and able to take on the Islamic militants with full military force," it says.

The commentary suggests Washington "acknowledge the legitimacy of the Assad government and accept it as a partner in the fight against the Islamic extremists".

And finally, several media outlets continue to comment on China's role in the Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO).

The SCO group - including China, Russia and the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - was formed in 2001 to curb extremism in the region and enhance border security.

It was widely viewed as a countermeasure to curb the influence of Western alliances such as Nato. Last week, Mr Xi attended a meeting of the SCO in Tajikistan.

During the summit, Mr Xi suggested the member states "launch consultations on an anti-extremism convention and initiate studies on a mechanism for actions against Internet terrorism", The Global Times reports.

An article in the Haiwai Net calls for "reinforcement" of co-operation in the group.

The overseas edition of the People's Daily notes that the SCO member states have pledged joint efforts to fight against any attempts to revive fascism.

"When China makes the call, it immediately receives widespread support," says the paper.

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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