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MOSCOW, July 18. /TASS/. The possibility of creating a missile defense system in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is considered but not all member countries have necessary elements, experts said on Monday at the roundtable devoted to the recent agreement between Washington and Seoul to deploy US THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) in South Korea.
"It was recently discussed during preparations for a SCO summit. Some experts said that SCO member countries may consider the possibility of creating a missile defense system (in the framework of the organization)," senior research fellow at the Institute of the Far East at the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Petrovsky said.
"If we are talking about the missile defense system (in SCO), not all member countries have such elements," deputy director at the Institute of CIS Countries and military analyst Vladimir Yevseev said. "Only two countries (in SCO) have such systems - Russia and China," he added.
"Russia and China should unite their potentials to create this kind of systems," Yevseev noted. "In reality, only Russia and China can talk about the possibility to create a full-fledged missile defense system. And other (SCO) countries should join them," he concluded.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry announced last week that Seoul and Washington agreed to deploy THAAD in South Korea to counter the threat from North Korea. Russia and China have spoken against the deployment of US missile defense system in South Korea. "Such actions, no matter how they are explained, very negatively affect global strategic security, adherence to which is so often discussed by Washington. They may also result in escalation of tensions in the region, new difficulties for resolving acute problems of the Korean Peninsula, including the task of its denuclearization," Russian Foreign Ministry said last Friday.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a permanent regional international association, the establishment of which was announced on June 15, 2001, in Shanghai. The organization brings together Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
During the SCO summit in Ufa on July 9 and July 10 the start of the admission procedure for India and Pakistan was announced. The leaders of the SCO member-countries also decided to grant Belarus observer status, while Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal became dialogue partners.
The SCO priority spheres include joint fight against terrorism and extremism, cooperation in the spheres of education, energy, transport, and telecommunications. The total population of SCO countries is almost 1.6 billion people, and the total GDP of the member countries is $11.6 trillion.