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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Security cooperation is SCO's shining point

By Zhao Huirong (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

13:46, April 13, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

The seventh meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Security Council Secretaries was held in Beijing from April 11 to April 12. Discussions at the meeting focused on topics such as regional security situation, further security cooperation among the SCO member states, and the direction for cooperation in law enforcement and security in the next 10 years.

Security cooperation is a founding basis of the SCO consisting of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, and has also been a shining point of the organization throughout its 10-year history. Over the past decade, the SCO member states have made significant progress in enhancing security functions, strengthening legal infrastructure, improving various mechanisms for greater and more efficient security cooperation, and contributed enormously to regional security and development.

The SCO has carried out security cooperation mainly in Central Asia. Most Central Asian countries have a short history, and have not completed their political or economic transition, with an incomplete state administrative system and weak self-defense capability. They face complex security issues, which are closely linked to political, economic, religious, or ethnic issues. Due to its geopolitical location, Central Asia is heavily influenced by major powers, which lack coordination in promoting their security mechanisms. In addition, the complex situation in its surrounding areas has greatly affected the security situation in the region.

Central Asia is facing serious security challenges, especially non-traditional security challenges such as terrorism, religious extremism, and illegal trafficking of drugs and weapons. Sharp contradictions exist between certain Central Asian countries over territory, water resources, and energy. The region is burdened with conflicts among different tribes, areas, ethnic groups, contradictions between the rich and poor, problems concerning corruption, migration, and cadre policy, fragile ecological environment easily affected by climate change, frequent natural disasters, and a relatively simple economic structure under which external market changes can easily cause inflation, food crises, or energy crises in the region. Furthermore, competing interests of major powers in Central Asia and instability in its surrounding areas have substantial negative impact on the regional security situation. It is difficult to remove these threats in a short period of time, making security cooperation an arduous long-term task of the SCO.

The SCO is committed to promoting regional peace, stability, and development, and has a duty to help its member states cope with security challenges. The organization has achieved fruitful results and accumulated rich experience in security cooperation over the past 10 years, and will continue to expand and deepen security cooperation and make greater contribution to regional security and stability over the next 10 years.

At a meeting with the heads of the delegations from other SCO member states on April 11, Chinese State Councilor Meng Jianzhu said that due to continued instability in West Asia and North Africa as well as changes in the counter-terrorism situation in Afghanistan and South Asia, the “three evil forces” of separatism, extremism, and terrorism remain an active threat to the security and stability of the SCO member states, highlighting the necessity and urgency of closer cooperation in law enforcement and security. The SCO member states should strengthen pragmatic cooperation between their law enforcement and security agencies, strengthen efforts to combat the “three evil forces,” drug trafficking, and transnational organized crime, and reduce the room for the “East Turkistan” separatist forces. They should also join forces in improving the organization's emergency mechanism, ensuring the security of major events and joint projects, and maintaining peace and stability in their border areas.

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