BEIJING: China will seek to bolster the fight against extremism at a regional security summit this weekend with some of its closest diplomatic allies, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Jointly led by Russia and China, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was launched in 2001 to combat radicalism and other security concerns in their own countries and across Central Asia.
It added two new members, India and Pakistan, last year and Iran has been knocking at the door.
Tehran is currently an observer rather than a full member of a bloc that also includes four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics (CARs).
“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,” according to Chinese media.
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, it also said.
China said that it was facing a threat from militants in its far western region of Xinjiang, where hundreds have been killed in unrest in recent years.
China has long found a sympathetic audience from Russia and CARs for its security crackdown.
The Saturday-Sunday summit in the northern Chinese port city of Qingdao comes ahead of a historic planned meeting next week between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and United States (US) President Donald Trump in Singapore.
Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters this week the Korean peninsula would be discussed between Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who meet first in Beijing on Friday.