Close ranks to combat evil forces, Xi urges
President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that China expects “closer strategic communication” with member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to address challenges posed by terrorists, separatists and extremists.
Xi made the remarks when he met with visiting chiefs of staff from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in Beijing.
The senior military officials convened with their Chinese counterpart earlier in the day for security teamwork building.
SCO members will stage a joint drill on Friday at Zhurihe in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. It is part of the fifth multinational “Peace Mission 2014” anti-terrorism military drill being staged from Sunday to Friday.
Xi said the Beijing meeting of the chiefs of staff was a great success, and that programs like the drill are conducive to deepening cooperation on defense security within the SCO.
A total of 7,000 troops from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have been sent to the Zhurihe training base for the drill.
This year’s drill surpasses previous ones in scale and the weaponry involved and is closer to real combat than before, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Yang Yujun said.
“The exercise will play a vital role in deterring the ‘three evil forces’ (terrorism, separatism and extremism) and safeguarding regional peace and stability,” Yang said at a news conference.
The Afghanistan issue “matters greatly to regional security and stability” and China expects that efforts by the international community will bring peace, stability and prosperity to Afghanistan, Yang said when asked if the SCO will be engaged in antiterrorist operations in Central Asia.
Xi also said the defense forces of SCO members had mutually cooperated in various fields, especially in designing the “Peace Mission” series of military drills.
China shares its fate with other SCO members and “would like to join hands (with them) to address new threats and new challenges”, he said.
Joint efforts by the SCO have a long-term influence and contribute to ensuring regional security and stability, he said.
The drill centers on a “separatist organization”, supported by an “international terrorist group” in plotting terrorist incidents and hatching a coup plot to divide the country. SCO members send military forces to quash the insurrection and restore stability.
Meng Xiangqing, deputy director of the Strategic Research Institute at the National Defense University of the People’s Liberation Army, said a joint military drill is needed to deal with new challenges as “the terrorist threat is gathering momentum”.
Meng said China is a major victim of cross-border terrorist threats, and the drill is staged as part of preparations for joint efforts to crack down on terrorism, separatism and extremism,
At the chiefs of staff meeting, Fang Fenghui, chief of general staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, called on joint efforts to build a “security community” and for stronger coordination to prevent terrorism.
Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, said, “The regional situation remains unstable and faces plenty of threats and challenges.”
Close coordination within the SCO is more important than at any time, Gerasimov said.
Leaders of SCO member states are expected to gather in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe in September for their annual meeting.
Xi said Beijing highly values the positive role played by the SCO in regional security and development and is ready to make the summit a success. Contact the writer at email@example.com
Xinhua contributed to this story.