Terrorist groups such as the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) should not be allowed to establish a safe haven in ungoverned areas along China's periphery, US President Barack Obama told China's state media. In the written interview with Xinhua, Obama urged the two nations to increase cooperation against global terrorism, especially "in stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters and cracking down on terrorist funding networks". Beijing regularly blames ETIM for masterminding a series of deadly attacks in Xinjiang , home to the Uygur minority. On March 1, several knife-wielding assailants staged random attacks on civilians at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming , killing 29 and leaving more than 140 people injured. China said the attackers were trained and recruited by ETIM. The US did not list the group as a terrorist organisation until 2002, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. But even after that, top US leaders have never spoken out against the ethnic-Uygur Muslim separatist group. Obama's comments came as the US was urging China to work together with it on campaigns against Islamic State in the Middle East. There have been media reports that some Islamic State fighters are Chinese and are associated with ETIM. Mainland scholars said the link between Islamic State and ETIM had provided a common ground for leaders from China and the US to step up anti-terrorism cooperation during their meeting at the Apec summit. "How to raise the level of cooperation under the UN-led campaign against Islamic State would be a key issue in the meeting between Xi and Obama," said Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. In the Xinhua interview, Obama said he absolutely rejected the suggestion that the US was trying to contain China, and expected to "directly and candidly" discuss "differences" between the two nations with President Xi Jinping . Obama, who kicked off his state visit to China after attending the Apec summit in Beijing from Monday, said that the meeting with Xi would "be an opportunity to make progress towards an ambitious bilateral investment treaty, calling on both sides to be bold and negotiate a high-standard agreement", Xinhua reported.