This weekend China will be part of a regional security summit where it seeks to support the fight against extremism. One of the closest associates to attend the summit will be the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia and China jointly launched the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2001 to combat radical Islam and other security concerns in their own countries and across Central Asia.
The two nations added India and Pakistan as the new members. Iran on the other hand has been knocking at the door since last year. Tehran is currently an observer rather than a full member of a bloc that also includes four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics.
China’s official said, “One of the pressing tasks facing the SCO is to continue fighting against militants of the Islamic State who, following the extremist group’s defeat in Syria and Iraq, have returned to their native countries, some of which are SCO members or observers,”
“Member countries have destroyed more than 500 training bases for armed militants and arrested some 2,000 members of “international terrorist organizations” between 2013 and 2017,” the official said.
According to Reuters, China faces a threat from Islamist militants in its far western region of Xinjiang, where hundreds have been killed in unrest in recent years.
The head of SCO Research Centre allied to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Sun Zhuangzhi said: “The traditional hostility between India and Pakistan could affect the efficiency of the SCO’s decision-making process,”