A joint anti-terrorism drill, dubbed "Peace Mission 2007," was held in Chelyabinsk in Russia's Ural Mountains region.
The exercise, staged by the six member countries of the SCO, had been carried out first in China's Urumqi, and then in Chelyabinsk, from Aug. 9 to Aug. 17.
About 4,000 troops and 80 aircraft from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan participated in the joint exercise.
The purpose of the joint anti-terrorist maneuvers "Peace Mission 2007" is to "demonstrate determination of the SCO member states in the fight against three evil forces: extremism, terrorism and separatism, as well as the common desire to ensure security and stability in the region, stimulate the general development and prosperity,"Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission, State Councilor and Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan said upon his arrival at the Shagol airfield outside Chelyabinsk during the exercise.
The SCO is an intergovernmental organization founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Its member states cover an area of more than 30 million square km with a population of 1.46 billion. Its working languages are Chinese and Russian.
The SCO originated and grew from the Shanghai Five mechanism, which was founded in 1996 by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstanand Tajikistan with the aim of strengthening confidence-building, carrying out disarmament in their border areas and promoting regional cooperation. In 2000, the president of Uzbekistan was invited to the Dushanbe Summit of the Shanghai Five as a guest, and in the following year, the SCO was established in Shanghai at its first summit meeting and accepted Uzbekistan as a member state. In July, 2005, the fifth summit was held in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan. The summit formally accepted Pakistan, India and Iran as observers. The SCO institutions consist of two parts: the meeting mechanism and the permanent organs. The highest SCO organ is the Council of Heads of State. The permanent institutions include the Secretariat in Beijing and the Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) in Tashkent. According to the SCO Charter and the Declaration on the Establishment of the SCO, its main purpose are: strengthening mutual trust and good-neighborliness and friendship among member states; developing effective cooperation in political affairs, economy, trade, science and technology, culture, education, energy, transportation, environmental protection and other fields; working together to maintain regional peace, security and stability; and promoting the creation of a new international political and economic order featuring democracy, justice and rationality.
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