Central Asia bloc focuses on security in Beijing | News | DW | 06.06.2012
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Central Asia bloc focuses on security in Beijing

Russian President Vladimir Putin is attending a meeting of Central Asian leaders in China. Security and economic relations are on the agenda of the alliance's meeting.

Heads of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are holding a two-day summit in Beijing, with the situation in Afghanistan high on the agenda.

Chinese President Hu Jintao called on the group to improve communication and coordination to fight the "three evil forces," which he said were terrorism, separatism and extremism.

He was quoted in the official Chinese news agency Xinhua as saying that the global financial crisis and cross-border crime posed threats to peace and economic development in the entire region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that he saw the stability of Afghanistan as an issue of "common concern."

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) walk together after they reviewed an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 05 June 2012.

Putin and Hu met on Tuesday ahead of the summit

Chinese officials are hoping the leaders will approve a plan for cracking down on terrorism. Their concern is Islamic groups that Beijing blames for conducting terrorist attacks in the western Xinjiang region, which also operate in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The six-member SCO was established in 2001 to focus on security issues in Central Asia and set up a counterweight to the Western military alliance NATO. However, it has been dealing mainly with economic issues across the region.

It includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Iran, Mongolia and political rivals India and Pakistan are observer members, while Afghanistan is a guest at the current meeting.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad are attending the Beijing conference, which is expected to prepare for talks on Iran's nuclear program scheduled for June 18 in Moscow.

rg/ncy (AFP, dpa)