Defense heads from Russia, China and Central Asia meet in Beijing

Defense ministers from China, Russia and four Central Asian nations were meeting Wednesday in Beijing for security talks focused on joint anti-terror efforts and other issues, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Officials have said the meeting of the ministers from the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization will address regional security and the "three forces of separatism, terrorism and extremism", a catch-phrase for Islamic militancy.

Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan was meeting with his counterparts Ismail Isakov of Kyrgyzstan, Sergei Ivanov from Russia, Tajikistan's Sherali Khayrulloyev, Ruslan Mirzayev from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan's Bulat Darbekov.

The organization, which got its informal start a decade ago but was formally launched five years ago, was founded to build confidence among the member nations and grapple with militant Islamic groups.

Its mission has expanded to include economic and political issues, reports the AP.

I.L.