BEIJING - A security summit between China, Russia and their Central Asian neighbors wrapped up in Beijing on Wednesday with vague promises to deepen economic cooperation but no public mention of regional flashpoints like Afghanistan.
I believe that if all member states work hand in hand and deepen cooperation we will certainly be able to create a glorious future of peace and prosperity for the region, said Premier Wen Jiabao, speaking on state television after the closed door event.
China will also carry out a June promise by President Hu Jintao of $10 billion of credit support to Central Asia to help fight the financial crisis, the official Xinhua news agency added, without elaborating.
No details have been released about the loan and it remains unclear whether any funds have been disbursed.
Russia and China are core members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which some experts say is an attempt to form an alternative military bloc to NATO to counter the rising threats of separatism and extremism in Central Asia.
The SCO's members also include the ex-Soviet Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- but their gatherings have rarely led to anything more concrete than showpiece photos and non-binding pledges of support.
Russia regards Central Asia as its historic sphere of influence, while Chinese economic sway there has been growing.
Wen said participants drafted measures to strengthen multilateral economic cooperation, handle the global financial crisis and ensure economic development.
He made no public mention of looming regional security issues like Iran's nuclear program, which has sparked a face-off with the West, or instability and violence in Afghanistan, with which China and several central Asian nations share borders.
Afghanistan's Taliban urged SCO members, in a letter posted on the Taliban website www.alemarah.info, to help the radical Islamic movement liberate the country from U.S. troops.
It called on summit participants to render assistance ... (for) the liberation of the people (Afghans) and countries of the region from the claws of the colonialists and take a decisive stand regarding the West's invasion of Afghanistan.
This summit was overshadowed by talks a day earlier between China and Russia, with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin overseeing a tentative gas supply agreement and deals worth $3.5 billion.
Also in Beijing, as observers, were Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Iran's First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, and ministers from India, Mongolia and Afghanistan.
(Additional reporting by Yu Le and Sayed Salahuddin in KABUL; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)