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Regional DMs to Debate Security Approach
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Regional security and defence co-operation will be highlighted at the Defence Ministers' Meeting of the six-nation Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO), which opens today in Beijing.

Sources with the Chinese Defence Ministry told China Daily Tuesday that the meeting will focus on regional security issues such as the fight against the "three forces" of separatism, terrorism and extremism, and defence co-operation among SCO members.

The one-day meeting is expected to end with a joint statement, which may cover the establishment of a regional security mechanism and efforts to boost the security situation in the Central Asian region.

Founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, the SCO groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, while Mongolia, Iran, India and Pakistan have been granted observer status.

Today's defence ministers' meeting is part of a series of activities organized by the SCO, which will hold its foreign ministers' meeting in mid-May and its annual summit meeting in mid-June.

The meeting will be the third of its kind, with the previous two being held in Shanghai in 2001 and in Moscow in 2002, and it will be chaired by Chinese Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan.

During his meeting with Russian Vice-Prime Minister and Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov Tuesday afternoon, Cao called for stronger defence co-operation between China and Russia as a way to push forward their strategic partnership of co-operation.

Cao said both sides have enjoyed practical co-operation in strategic consultation, personnel training and military academic exchanges over the past few years.

"China and Russia should strengthen their trust and co-operation in the defence sector, which benefits the fundamental interests of the two peoples," he told Ivanov.

Such co-operation "is also conducive to peace and stability in the region and the world as a whole," Cao added.

Ivanov said Russia and China share the same stance on major issues ranging from safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity to the fight against terrorist, secessionist and extremist forces.

(China Daily April 26, 2006)


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