Close ranks to com­bat evil forces, Xi urges

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YUNBI and ZHAO YINAN

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 zhangyunbi@chi­

Xin­hua con­trib­uted to this story.

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