SCO will work together to fight terrorism
Updated: 2012-05-30 08:02
By Li Xiaokun and Wu Jiao (China Daily)
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization will work hard to maintain security in a region shadowed by terrorist forces, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Tuesday ahead of an SCO summit in Beijing.
Sources close to SCO operations said the upcoming summit, scheduled for June 6 to 7, will modify a security document helping its member countries in handling domestic emergencies if the country asks for help.
"It will considerably boost the SCO's ability to prevent and tackle emergencies," Deputy Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping said at a forum at the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.
In case of instability in the Central Asian region or any SCO member country, the SCO secretary-general is authorized to convene a conference of member countries, he said.
"West Asia and North Africa are still in turmoil," said the veteran diplomat, adding that external factors have given rise to terrorist, extremist and separatist forces.
"Given the new and grave situation, it is imperative for member states to enhance mutual trust, strengthen cooperation and make long-term plans."
Ji Zhiye, vice-president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told China Daily that the SCO has seen threats to its member nations through turmoil in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in recent years.
The new regulations will play a big role in fighting cross-border terrorism and crimes, Ji said.
"It is a milestone in terms of boosting the SCO's internal cohesion and improving its capability to act," he said.
Another source close to the SCO told China Daily on the sidelines of the forum that high-level officials from the US State Department have sent an application in "an informal way" for the status of SCO dialogue partner.
The informal application is a feeler to see how the SCO will respond, said the source, who declined to be named as he was not authorized to talk about the issue.
Founded in 2001 in Shanghai, the SCO is comprised of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
As Central Asia is a traditional zone of US influence, Washington has all along paid extra attention to the region, said the source.
However, although "the SCO will have communication with the US, there is low possibility for it to establish an institutionalized relationship," the source said.
A senior former official of the SCO Secretariat, however, told China Daily that he had never heard of the US application.
SCO expansion is among the hot topics at the Beijing summit. State leaders attending the meeting will discuss Afghanistan's application for observer status and the application from Turkey to become a dialogue partner.
Asked about efforts by Western countries, including the US, to establish closer relationships with SCO member countries, Cheng said that "China firmly upholds anything that is good for the stability and development of the Central Asian region and the countries there".
All SCO members have the right to develop relations with other countries outside the group, he said.
But he also noted China supports countries being their own masters and opposes any foreign intervention, especially political conditions attached in the name of assistance or improving relations.
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(China Daily 05/30/2012 page11)