By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-08-28 05:24
China and Kazakhstan completed a joint anti-terror military drill over the weekend, which officials say will help fight terrorists under the framework of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO).
The second-phase of the three-day drill was held in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Saturday. The first phase was held in the Almaty region of Kazakhstan on Thursday.
The joint drill involved armed helicopters, anti-riot vehicles and police and special forces troops from both countries. Around 700 police simulated a battle in which the enemy was forced into a narrow valley.
The exercise was the first of its kind undertaken by the two countries under the auspices of the SCO, which groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Around 100 observers from the other SCO states were invited to evaluate the drill.
China shares a 1,700-kilometre border with Kazakhstan, its second longest after the border with Russia.
And the region has been threatened by international terrorism and criminal gangs.
In December 2003, China identified four "East Turkistan" groups as terrorist organizations.
The "three evil forces" terrorism, separatism and extremism are still active in the region, while crimes such as cross-border drug trafficking are on the rise, Meng Hongwei, China's vice-minister of public security and also commander of the Chinese troops for the drill, was quoted by the Xinhua News Agency as saying.
"The exercise will help establish the SCO's active role in maintaining regional security and stability," said Meng.
SCO member states plan to stage another round of anti-terrorism military exercises in Russia next year.
Vladimir Boshko, first vice-chairman of the Committee of the National Security of Kazakhstan, said the drill will enhance co-ordination in anti-terror activities between SCO countries.
Zhao Yongchen, deputy director of the Anti-terror Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, said China opposes any form of terrorism.
China's top legislature ratified The Sino-Pakistan Co-operative Agreement on Combating the "Three Evil Forces"yesterday.
It was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on August 22.