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Wen Meets SCO Defense Ministers
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Premier Wen Jiabao has called for member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to strengthen coordination and cooperation so as to jointly deal with new threats and challenges.


Meeting with SCO defense ministers Wednesday, Wen called for the member countries -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- to jointly maintain regional peace, security and stability.


Wen said the six countries should work together to create a peaceful, cooperative, open, prosperous and harmonious environment for development.


Since the establishment of the SCO five years ago, member countries had upheld the "Shanghai Spirit" of mutual trust and benefit, equality, consultation, tolerance of diversity and the pursuit of common development.


Wen said the neighboring countries had made outstanding achievements in promoting friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation.


He said defense and security cooperation was a priority in SCO cooperation.


The defense ministers expressed appreciation of the excellent organization of the meeting.


During their talks, they reached consensus on extending defense cooperation and agreed to stage a joint anti-terror military exercise in Russia in 2007.


The ministers at the meeting to discuss regional security issues were China's Cao Gangchuan, Kyrgyzstan's Ismail Isakov, Russia's Sergei Ivanov, Tajikistan's Sherali Khairullaev and Uzbekistan's Ruslan Mirzayevare and Kazakhstan's B. Darbekov.


Ten years ago, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, known as the "Shanghai Five," gathered in Shanghai and agreed military cooperation along their border regions.


The Shanghai Five evolved into the SCO in 2001 with the accession of Uzbekistan.


(Xinhua News Agency April 27, 2006)

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