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Islamic militancy on Shanghai agenda

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  • Mr. P.I. Hublou
    BBC News Online: World: Asia-Pacific ... Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK Islamic militancy on Shanghai agenda
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2001
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      BBC News Online: World: Asia-Pacific

      Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK

      Islamic militancy on Shanghai agenda


      Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Shanghai on Thursday for a
      six-nation summit expected to focus on fighting the spread of Islamic
      militancy and US influence.

      Mr Putin met Chinese President Jiang Zemin on the sidelines of the summit
      for talks ahead of the Russian leader's first meeting with US President
      George W Bush on Saturday.

      The two leaders have serious reservations about Mr Bush's missile defence
      proposals, especially his hopes to scrap the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile

      Our views on US missile defence fully coincide with China's
      Igor Ivanov,
      Russian foreign minister

      Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told reporters in Shanghai that the
      two countries regularly consulted about US missile defence plans and that
      their views "fully coincide".

      The two-day summit is being held by the Shanghai Five, a group set up in
      1996 to sort out lingering Sino-Russian border disputes.

      New member

      The five are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, with
      Uzbekistan, the most populous country in Central Asia, becoming its sixth
      member at the summit.

      Speaking in Moscow before his departure, Mr Putin said measures were needed
      to fight terrorism and organised crime in the region.

      "Russia's withdrawal from Central Asia after the fall of the Soviet Union
      created a vacuum ... which religious extremists and terrorist organisations
      are trying to fill," he said.

      Shanghai, China's main commercial hub, was reported to be almost shut down
      as leaders arrived. Major roads were being closed and schoolchildren sent

      China is keen for the summit to go smoothly since the International Olympic
      Committee decides in July if the country is to be awarded the 2008 Olympic

      Broader ambitions

      China, with a large and restive Muslim population in its far west, is keen
      to stem the growth of Islamic militancy in Central Asia and prevent groups
      there linking up with Muslim separatists inside China.

      All the countries at the summit are dealing with Muslim guerrillas to some
      extent, many of whom are believed to receive support from Afghanistan's
      militant Muslim Taleban movement.

      But China also has broader ambitions to build the Shanghai group into a
      bulwark against American influence in Central Asia.

      The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes says the summit is expected to adopt a
      Chinese-sponsored resolution condemning the US for its plans to build a
      missile defence system. Russia is expected to give its support to the motion.

      But American investment in Central Asian oil-rich states like Kazakhstan
      far outstrips that of either Russia or China. And our correspondent says
      these smaller states may be more reluctant to get drawn into China's designs.

      Related to this story:
      Leaders upbeat for Dushanbe summit (05 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific)

      New opposition to US missile plans (05 Jul 00 | World)

      OSCE warns of Islamic militancy (10 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific)

      China's Islamic concerns (30 Apr 01 | Media reports)

      China and Russia sign border pact (09 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific)

      Leaders pledge to protect borders (25 Aug 99 | Asia-Pacific)

      Internet links:
      Russian Government

      Chinese Foreign Ministry

      Kyrgyz Government

      Uzbekistan News

      Tajik News

      Information on Kazakhstan

      The BBC neiter ILM-publication are responsible for the content of external
      internet sites

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