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Jiang in Russia for Second SCO Summit
President Jiang Zemin flew into Russian city St. Petersburg Wednesday to attend the second summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, to be held Friday.

The organization, founded in 1996 as the Shanghai Five with the aim of brokering border disputes, has expanded its membership and scope to cover a wide range of regional and international problems.

With the aim of promoting peace, stability and economic and trade ties, the organization groups China, Russia, and the Central Asian republics of Kazakstan, Kyrghyzstan, Tajikistan, original members of the Shanghai Five, as well as Uzbekstan, which joined the organization last year in Shanghai.

"The founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization serves the practical needs of this region and the interests of its member countries,'' Jiang said when meeting Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Almaty Wednesday before flying to Russia.

Jiang said the organization is destined to be a dynamic one as it reflects the trend of historical development, according to a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman.

China and Kazakstan have similar stands and share many common interests in maintaining security and promoting the development of Central Asia, Jiang told his Kazakh counterpart, adding that the founding of the organization was a major strategic decision made by China and other member countries. Nazarbayev told Jiang that Kazakstan is willing to work with other members of the organization to make the summit a successful one.

The meeting of state coordinators of the organization concluded in the Kazakh city of Almaty on Monday. The coordinators finalized agreements to be signed by the heads of state of the six nations.

Noting that Central Asia has witnessed some changes since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Chinese president said countries in this region should manage Central Asian affairs by themselves.

Jiang also congratulated Nazarbayev on the success of the first summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) which concluded in Almaty on Monday.

China, as a CICA member and a friendly neighbor of Kazakstan, has been an active participant in the CICA process from the beginning and has made constructive contributions to its progress, Jiang said, pledging continuing contributions to pushing forward the CICA process.

Nazarbayev appreciated Jiang's attendance at the CICA summit and said the fact that parties with conflicts, such as India and Pakistan and Israel and Palestine, sit together at the conference is meaningful, even though the conference did not discuss their specific problems.

Turning to Sino-Kazakh relations, Jiang said Kazakstan is the first nation of the former Soviet Union that has settled border issues with China that are products of history.

The two nations signed an agreement on delimitation last month, marking a successful settlement of Sino-Kazakh border issues.

Jiang's views were echoed by Nazarbayev who said the delimitation of the border between Kazakstan and China has strengthened mutual trust between the two countries.

Nazarbayev stressed that Kazakstan has always supported the Chinese Government in its stand on the Taiwan question, opposes any form of separatism and is willing to cooperate with China in this matter.

Jiang also met Hamid Karzai, chairman of the Afghanistan interim government Wednesday before leaving Almaty.

Jiang said that China is ready to develop the traditional friendly and cooperative relationship with Afghanistan on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

Karzai said the Afghan people appreciate the support and assistance that China has rendered them and that Afghanistan welcomes Chinese enterprises to invest in the country to expand bilateral trade cooperation, now that his interim government has passed a law on foreign investment.

Karzai briefed Jiang on the Afghanistan political situation and the progress in preparations for the Grand Council of Afghanistan, which is set to convene on June 10.

Jiang said China hopes the meeting will come up with an interim government which has a broad base and represents the interests of all parties in Afghanistan on a foundation of full consultation.

(China Daily June 6, 2002)

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