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China, Kazakhstan to hold joint drill against terrorism
Latest Updated by 2006-08-22 08:42:06
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China, Kazakhstan to hold joint drill against terrorism

China and Kazakhstan, both member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), will hold an anti-terrorism exercise from Aug. 24 to 26, China's Ministry of Public Security announced on Monday.

The drill, codenamed "Tianshan - I (2006)", would be conducted by law enforcement bodies and special services of the two countries, said the ministry.

It would be held in Kazakhstan's eastern Almaty region and the western Chinese city of Yining in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The ministry refused to disclose the number of personnel participating or the specific operations involved.

It would be the first ever joint anti-terrorism exercise between the two countries' law enforcement bodies and special forces within the SCO framework.

The ministry said it was aimed at implementing the consensus on enhancing security cooperation among member states at the SCO summit in June and to improve coordination between law enforcement departments and special services.

SCO members issued a communique in June at the Shanghai summit, saying that the fight against the "three evil forces" remains the organization's top priority.

They agreed to jointly combat the threats posed by terrorism, separatism and extremism as well as illegal drug trafficking, which had worsened in scale and degree, according to the communique.

China shared a 1,700-kilometer border with Kazakhstan, the longest after its boundary with Russia.

Dr. Feng Yujun, of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said the two countries settled border disputes in 1999. "It's of great political and strategic significance for them to have cross-border anti-terror cooperation."

Established in June 2001, the regional organization comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Its member states account for a quarter of the world's population.

On the day the organization was founded, presidents of the six states signed the Shanghai Pact on fighting against terrorism, separatism and extremism.

In 2004, a regional anti-terror agency known as the Regional Anti- Terrorism Structure (RATS) was set up in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, to coordinate the fight against "the three evil forces".

Since then, a number of anti-terror exercises have been held in SCO member states.

In October, 2002, China and Kyrgyzstan held a cross-border anti-terror military drill.

In August 2003, the armed forces of the SCO member states held a joint exercise against terrorism, the first multi-lateral military drill within the SCO framework.

In August 2005, China and Russia held a joint war game codenamed "Peaceful Mission - 2005". In 2007, the member states will stage another joint anti-terrorism military exercise in Russia.

SCO Secretary-General Zhang Deguang said maintaining regional security and stability and fighting the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism were key to the cooperation among SCO members.

But he also stressed the security cooperation within the regional organization was "transparent". "The SCO will not become a military alliance, nor will it be a closed political coalition."

The drill, the third of its kind conducted within the SCO framework, will be witnessed by observers from SCO member states and other countries, China's Ministry of Public Security said.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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