New Chief Says Shanghai Cooperation Group Stresses Development

Based in Beijing, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) encompasses eight countries representing 3 billion people. That gives it heft but worries many in the West, who see an emerging bloc that will oppose Washington and its allies in Eurasia. The group's new secretary-general, former Uzbek Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov, says the SCO aims to be a connector, not a divider. "We are not an anti-Western bloc," said Norov, "or a military alliance as many Western experts claim." The organization holds regular political and economic summits, as well as large-scale security and counterterrorism drills. In a recent interview with VOA in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Norov said the group was broadening its focus but that that should not be seen as threatening...........

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