Thu, 19 Sep 2019

BISHKEK -- Leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional grouping led by Moscow and Beijing, are gathering in the Kyrgyz capital for a two-day summit.

Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan established the SCO -- a Eurasian political, economic, and security grouping -- in the early 2000s. India and Pakistan joined in 2017. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia have observer status.

Ahead of the Bishkek summit, Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov discussed bilateral ties and regional security issues with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, according to the Kyrgyz presidential office.

Jeenbekov said after the talks that Bishkek and Beijing have 'a common standpoint on the fight against three evils: terrorism, extremism, and separatism.'

He added that Kyrgyzstan supported China's position regarding Taiwan, saying, 'Taiwan is inseparable part of China and the Kyrgyz side supports China in that matter.'

Beijing regards the island state as a rebel region that must be reunited with China's mainland.

Jeenbekov also said that the internment of ethnic Kyrgyz and other mostly Muslim indigenous people in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang was an 'internal matter' for China.

'Kyrgyzstan supports the leadership of the Chinese People's Republic in that matter as well,' he said.

Later in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to arrive in the Kyrgyz capital where he is expected to hold separate talks with Jeenbekov and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Kremlin has said that the Russian leader will also take part in a trilateral meeting with the leaders of China and Mongolia on the sidelines of the SCO summit.

After the summit in Kyrgyzstan, Putin, Xi, Central Asian leaders, and top officials from dozens of other countries will convene on June 15 in neighboring Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe, for the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

Putin said in a televised interview on June 13, that a range of issues, including the situation in Afghanistan and Iran's nuclear deal, will be discussed at the gathering.

With reporting by MIR and TASS

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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