CHELYABINSK, Russia: About 2,000 troops from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries held a joint anti-terrorism exercise on Saturday, kicking off the second phase of Peace Mission 2007.
Troops from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan staged a parade at a military base near Chelyabinsk in Russia's Ural Mountains.
The commanders of the six countries said the SCO has abided by the "Shanghai Spirit", which embodies mutual trust and benefit, equality, respect for cultural diversity and a desire for common development.
The organization has established a new model of defense and security cooperation under the principles of openness, transparency and non-targeting of a third party, they said.
The joint exercise is aimed at showing SCO members' determination to crack down on the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, General Xu Qiliang, deputy chief of General Staff of the PLA, said at an oath-taking ceremony.
Also, it will improve their battle effectiveness and upgrade their cooperation mechanism to maintain regional peace and stability, said Xu, who is the Chinese commander-in-chief for the drill.
The joint military exercise has also set a good example for the international community to join hands to fight terrorism, Zhu Jianye, China's legal counselor for the anti-terrorism drill, said.
Zhu, major-general of the People's Liberation Army, said the exercise conforms to the mission and principle of the UN Charter and is "legitimate and undisputable" in terms of international law.
Colonel General Vladimir Moltenskoy, deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Army, corroborated Zhu, saying: "I believe the drill will contribute a lot to the SCO's efforts to combat terrorists and religious extremists."
The nine-day exercise began in Urumqi, capital of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, on Thursday. The second phase is being held in Russia's Ural Mountains.
The drill takes place in the backdrop of the SCO summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek on August 16.
The second phase of the drill will see a group of terrorists seizing a small town in the Urals, and the six SCO member countries will launch a joint operation to free the town and its residents.
(China Daily 08/13/2007 page1)