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Chinese Defense Minister Begins Central Asia Tour

13 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan is scheduled to start a tour of Central Asia today.

The Tajik Defense Ministry says Cao is first due in Dushanbe for talks with Tajikistan's leaders about military and technical cooperation. ITAR-TASS says there will also be discussions about the situation in Central Asia and Afghanistan, as well as the fight against terrorism and the spread of drugs.

Cao is also expected to visit Kazakhstan.

China's official Xinhua news agency calls Cao's trip "an official goodwill visit" made at the invitation of his Tajik and Kazakh counterparts.

Tajikistan and Kazakhstan are both members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a six-member security group dominated by China and Russia.


See also:

"Central Asia: Is Regional Turbulence Return Of The Great Game?"