China’s top military officer, Gen. Chen Bingde, is making an extended visit to Central Asia in advance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Beijing.
Chen’s first stop on his Central Asian swing was Uzbekistan, where he held talks on May 31 with Uzbek Defense Minister Kabul Berdiev. "Uzbekistan firmly sticks to the one-China policy and supports China's stance on issues related to Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet," the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, reported. During meetings with other Uzbek military officials, Chen expressed a desire for an expansion of “pragmatic cooperation” between Beijing and Tashkent, according to a separate Xinhua report.
Also on Chen’s itinerary are stops in Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. While in Tajikistan, Chen, who serves as the chief of People’s Liberation Army’s general staff, will attend a meeting of SCO military chiefs on June 7 in Tajikistan, according to the People’s Daily online. He is also slated to attend a SCO-sponsored counter-terrorism exercise in Tajikistan that will run from June 8-14.
Meanwhile, Tajik President Imomali Rahmon, is wrapping up a five-day visit to China that began on June 1. Following the bilateral portion of his trip, Rahmon will attend the Beijing SCO summit on June 6-7.