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Backgrounder: Shanghai Cooperation Organization

11-07-2011 15:27 BJT Special Report:Premier Wen Attends SCO PM’s Meeting in St. Petersburg |

BEIJING, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an inter-governmental organization founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Its member states combine to cover an area of more than 30 million square km with a combined population of 1.46 billion. The SCO 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, Kyrgyzstan and 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.

The second summit meeting was held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in June 2002 and the state leaders signed the SCO Charter.

The third summit meeting was held in the Russian capital of Moscow and Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Deguang was named as the organization's first secretary-general during the meeting.

The forth summit meeting was held in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan.

The fifth summit, held in Astana, Kazakhstan, decided to formally accept Pakistan, India and Iran as observers.

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