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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Shanghai Security Group Goes International

ST. PETERSBURG -- Leaders of Russia, China and four Central Asian nations on Friday anointed their security group as a full-fledged international organization as President Vladimir Putin sought to soothe Beijing's jealousy about Moscow's romance with the West.

Putin said India also was probing the ground on joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, or SCO, and added that any other nation was welcome to join, including Moscow's new friend -- the United States.

Putin, Chinese President Jiang Zemin and leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan signed the SCO charter -- a document that would give the group formal international legal status.

The group's secretariat will be based in Beijing. The six leaders also agreed to set up a joint regional anti-terrorism agency based in Kyrgyzstan.

The Shanghai security group was originally created to help defuse border tension and later evolved into what Moscow and Beijing saw as their favorite tool for offsetting U.S. domination.

It was Putin who ended the unchallenged sway of Russia and China over Central Asia by welcoming the U.S. military. The move stunned Beijing, nervous about the presence of U.S. troops next to its borders.