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Defense Ministers Meet in Bishkek
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Defense ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) met in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, yesterday to discuss regional security and preparations from the upcoming SCO summit.
All six leaders of the SCO members are expected to attend the summit in Bishkek on August 16.

A joint anti-terrorism military exercise within the SCO framework is also slated for August 9-17.
The Peace Mission 2007 exercise will involve 500 Russian and Chinese vehicles, about 2,000 Russian and 1,600 Chinese military personnel, a company (of around 100 men) from Tajikistan and smaller units from other members, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, Russian Army General Alexei Maslov said earlier this month.

China and Russia's air forces will also take part in the exercise.

Peace Mission 2007 will be the biggest anti-terrorism joint military exercise yet carried out by the six SCO members. China will be sending more troops than it has ever before contributed to a cross-border military exercise.

The exercise will be held on Chinese and Russian territory, said Maslov.

The first stage of the exercise, including political consultations, will take place in China. The second, main, stage will be held at the Chebarkul training range in Russia's Volga-Urals military district.

The joint military exercise embodies the resolution and ability of SCO members to crack down on the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and to maintain regional peace and security, without threatening any other countries, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui said when the event was announced earlier this year.

After several rounds of talks, Chinese and Russian military experts recently agreed that Chinese military personnel, armaments and hardware would arrive by crossing the China-Russia border in the Far East.

(China Daily June 27, 2007)

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