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Friday, June 15, 2001, updated at 21:42(GMT+8)

People's Daily Editorial Hails SCO Founding

The establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will greatly promote peace and stability in the region and the world at large, says an editorial carried by the People's Daily Saturday.

The editorial says that the heads of state of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, at the two-day summit, signed the declaration of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which signals the founding of a regional cooperative organization between the six countries.

The six heads of state also signed the Shanghai pact on battling terrorism, separatism, and extremism and a joint statement on admitting Uzbekistan into the "Shanghai Five", the editorial says.

The above events demonstrate that the "Shanghai Five" mechanism has made a historical step forward and will further promote the good-neighborly friendship and cooperative relations among the six nations, the paper says.

It says that the founding of the SCO is in line with the requirements of the development of the times and is the result of the joint efforts of the six countries.

In April, 1996, the top leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan met for the first time in Shanghai and they signed the Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions.

The next year, in Moscow, the leaders signed the Treaty on Reducing Military Forces in Border Regions.

The first two meetings and the two treaties showed the determination of the peoples of the five countries to become "good neighbors, good friends, and good partners" and the cooperation mechanism among the five countries thus went into operation, the editorial says.

After that, the summit meetings of the five countries have been hosted by the members in turn. And in July, 2000, Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov attended the Dushanbe summit as an observer.

The summit meetings havegradually exppanded into the areas of politics, security, foreign affairs, economy and trade from the original border issues, the editorial mentions.

Besides the summit meetings, the five countries also established meeting mechanisms in the areas of law enforcement, security, national defense, and foreign affairs.

During the past five years, the documents signed by the summit meetings have played an important role in promoting cooperation among the members, in maintaining regional and world peace, security and stability, the paper says.

The documents have also enriched the practice of contemporary diplomacy and regional cooperation, it says.

Yet the member countries agreed that under the current complex international and regional situation, the current mechanisms could not meet the requirements of their cooperation and development, which necessitated the upgrading of the current cooperation level, the editorial says.

That is why the SCO came into existence, it points out.

The SCO, which covers three-fifths of the Eurasian continent and one-quarter of the world's population, is a good example of international cooperation, the editorial says.

The importance of the organization also lies with its vital strategic political and economic position, and its inclusion of countries and civilizations of different kinds, the paper says.

It says that the new security concept, the new state-to-state relationship, and the model of regional cooperation proposed by the organization will be even more attractive.

The editorial says that the declaration passed at the summit characterizes its aims as strengthening mutual trust and good- neighborly friendship among member states and their effective cooperation in various fields so as to make concerted efforts to safeguard and guarantee peace, security and stability in the region and the world at large.

It stresses that all member states will strictly abide by the principles of good-neighborly friendship, equality, reciprocity, friendly cooperation and common development, stick to non- alignment, not targeting other countries and regions, opening to others, and keeping friendly contacts and cooperation with other regions and international organizations around the world.

The Shanghai Spirit, a result of the Shanghai Five process with mutual trust, reciprocity, equality, consultation, respect for multifarious civilizations and seeking for common development as the basic content, is the experience accumulated and treasure gained by states in the region in their cooperation in the past few years, and it will be a guiding norm for relations between SCO member states.

The SCO shoulders the historical task entrusted by the peoples of member states and enjoys a strong vitality, says the editorial.

It continues to say that this summit meeting has set clear directions and content for future cooperation between member states, and the deepening of their cooperation in security has been made a top priority.

The pact on battling terrorism, separatism and extremism signed by the six heads of state in Shanghai has shown that these countries have made concrete steps in their cooperation, marking a breakthrough from political documents to legal documents.

The pact has also made clear the legal definition of separatism and extremism for the first time and laid a legal foundation for jointly cracking down on the "three forces," the editorial notes.

Besides, the six countries will take joint action against such criminal activities as weapon and drug trafficking and illegal migration, says the editorial, adding that they will also speed up the establishment of a SCO anti-terrorism center in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, to coordinate between member states.

The editorial says that another important task facing the SCO is to strengthen bilateral and multi-lateral economic and trade cooperation, saying that multi-faceted and multi-level economic and trade cooperation is the cornerstone for the SCO's steady progress and is one of the major parts of their cooperation.

Pointing to the fact that these countries are facing the tasks of revitalizing their economies, developing science and technology and meeting the challenge of economic globalization, the editorial recalls that this summit has elaborated on strengthening economic and trade cooperation among member states and pointed out clearly that they will initiate negotiations on trade and investment facilitation within the SCO's framework, work out guidelines for long-term multi-lateral economic and trade cooperation and sign relevant documents.

Leaders of the six governments will hold their first meeting in Kazakhstan this Autumn to push forward the implementation of this strategy, adds the editorial.

It also notes that the SCO member states will coordinate and further cooperate in regional and some major international issues, adding that they should uphold the safeguarding and observation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signed in 1972 as the cornerstone for strategic stability and reducing strategic offensive weapons, oppose the deployment of the theater missile defense system in the Asia-Pacific region, and support the United Nations' efforts for and its leading role in settling international issues such as the Afghan conflicts.

Noting that the SCO, set up at the beginning of the new century, shoulders arduous tasks and has a long way to go, the editorial voices a belief that the six countries are bound to, in accordance with the SCO's purposes, principles and goals, uphold peace and cooperation, continuously strengthen their unity and cooperation, and play their due role in relations among member states and the history of all international relations.

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The establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will greatly promote peace and stability in the region and the world at large, says an editorial carried by the People's Daily Saturday.

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