(CNN) -- Three people died and 79 others were hurt in an explosion Wednesday at a train station in China's restive northwestern region, spurring the nation's President Xi Jinping -- who happened to be in the area -- to vow action against terrorist attacks, state news reported.
Xinhua announced the casualty toll via Twitter early Thursday, as well as Xi's urging "decisive actions" in response.
The blast occurred around 7 p.m. Wednesday at the exit of the south railway station of Urumqi, the capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, according to Xinhua.
Police evacuated people from the square in front of the station, deployed armed officers and cordoned off entrances to the station, where train services had been suspended.
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The station reopened about two hours later, passengers entered as armed police looked on, according to Xinhua.
Frequent outbreaks of violence have beset Xinjiang, a resource-rich region where the arrival of waves of Han Chinese people over the decades has fueled sectarian tensions with the Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking, predominantly Muslim ethnic group.
During his stop, Xi stressed the importance of "long-term stability" in the region as "vital to the whole country's reform, development and stability; to the country's unity, ethnic harmony and national security as well as to the great revival of Chinese nation."
Speaking to local officials, the President called for national unity and opposition to separatism. He said China will use a "strike-first" strategy against militants in the region and forge policies to promote ethnic harmony.