The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), comprising China, Russia and four Central Asian republics, has entered a new period of cooperation against terrorism and drugs, secretary general Zhang Deguang was quoted as saying.
"The SCO has entered a new period of practical cooperation after three years of development," Zhang said according to Xinhua news agency, during an SCO seminar on security matters sponsored by the Chinese ministry of defence.
Zhang said SCO members would increase cooperation in fighting the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism as well as drug trafficking, according to the official news agency.
China is particularly seeking cooperation from the Central Asian republics in its fight against Muslim Uighur separatists, whom it now brands "terrorists" since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
The 10-day seminar opened in China on July 22 and brings together 6 military officials from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to discuss regional and international issues, including anti-terrorism, Xinhua said.
The Shanghai Group, founded in 1996 by three Central Asian countries, Russia and China, was transformed into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation when Uzbekistan joined in 2001.
AFP, July 26, 2004