SCO Defense Ministers Share Goals
|A Pakistani military band marches in front of the National Stadium, known as the Bird's Nest, in Beijing on Wednesday. It was taking part in the fifth military marching band festival parade for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at the Olympic Park. [Zhang Yu/China News Service]|
Defense ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will continue fighting terrorism, extremism and separatism, and maintain peace, security and stability in the region, according to a joint statement published on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Beijing held the first formal meeting of SCO defense ministers since the organization accepted Pakistan and India as new members last year.
The meeting consists of defense ministers from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and India, as well as the chief of the general staff of the armed forces of Kyrgyzstan.
General Wei Fenghe, China's defense minister, called on SCO member countries to uphold the principle of treating each other as equals and creating a new security environment with shared benefits.
"We should continue to uphold the "Shanghai Spirit", and strengthen pragmatic cooperation in high-level exchanges, joint exercises, military culture, education and training," Wei said at the meeting.
The "Shanghai Spirit" features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development.
The ministers agreed to strengthen mutual trust in military affairs, conduct more exchanges and deepen pragmatic cooperation in an effort to build a community of common destiny and a fair, and stable multipolar world, according to the statement.
They also agreed to establish a working committee of military experts to fulfill the consensus reached during the meeting and optimize military cooperation between SCO members.
SCO members will continue to jointly tackle terrorism, extremism, separatism, drug trafficking and other security threats. They also will hold joint counterterrorism exercises, military music festivals and other military events to boost coordination, friendship and trust.
These activities do not target any third party and are aimed toward jointly tackling common security threats as uncertainties and instabilities emerge around the globe, ministers said.
The ministers praised Russia's effort in combating the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups in the Syrian Arab Republic and the humanitarian aid efforts by SCO member countries to Syria.
They agreed to hold the next regular meeting of the SCO Defense Ministers in Kyrgyzstan in 2019.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a Eurasian political, economic and security organization created in Shanghai in 2001.
(Source: China Daily)
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