Foreign and Military Affairs

China vows to boost security ties with SCO members 

By Cheng Guangjin and Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-06-09 08:25
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BEIJING - China pledged on Wednesday to enhance security cooperation with other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to deal with regional security threats and the possible resurgence of terrorist attacks.

"There are still unstable factors in the world today, which faces the possible danger of the resurgence of terrorism. Central Asia is also threatened by terrorism," Assistant Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told the Lanting Forum held in the Lanting (Blue Hall) of the Foreign Ministry in Beijing.

To tackle this situation, SCO member states should develop effective cooperation from joint warnings to joint law enforcement, and also hold regular joint counter-terrorism exercises, Cheng said.

They "should spare no efforts in fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism, drug trafficking and other transnational crimes, and safeguarding global information security", Cheng said.

Founded in Shanghai in 2001, the SCO currently has six members - China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia have observer status.

According to Ji Zhiye, deputy dean of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, enhanced security cooperation between SCO members over the past decade has paid off.

SCO member states have signed the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism and a number of other security cooperation documents on non-traditional threats.

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Compared with the security situation in Central Asia at the time of the SCO's establishment 10 years ago, there are fewer terrorist attacks or hostage-taking incidents, according to Ji.

The bloc has conducted seven anti-terror military drills, with the latest, "Peace Mission 2010", held in Kazakhstan in September 2010.

"The joint counter-terrorism exercises have curbed the rapid expansion of terrorist and extremist forces," Ji said.

However, Ji noted that the SCO shouldn't dwell on its achievements, but must further enhance security cooperation.

Ji said what will happen in Afghanistan after the United States starts to withdraw its troops in July remains unclear.

"The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and East Turkestan Islamic Movement, who have been hiding along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, may find an opportunity to come back," Ji said.

Leaders attending the 10th anniversary SCO summit to be held in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on June 15, will approve an anti-drugs strategy for 2011 to 2016 to tackle this major threat to peace and prosperity in the region.

With the Astana SCO summit a week away, the Lanting Forum, which focused on future prospects for the SCO, attracted around 200 officials, scholars, business executives and foreign diplomats.

China will continue to promote the sound development of the SCO after it assumes the rotating presidency this month, said Cheng.

At the Astana summit, President Hu Jintao will discuss with leaders of other SCO member states how to expand economic cooperation, Cheng said, adding that China will provide more financial assistance to other member states.

At the Yekaterinburg summit in 2009, China agreed to provide a $10 billion loan to SCO member states for multilateral and bilateral economic and technological cooperation projects within the framework of the SCO.

According to statistics, a $7.4 billion loan is already in place, Cheng said.