The six Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) nations China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are to hold anti-terrorism drills in 2007. The exercises were announced following a meeting of the countries' defense ministers in Beijing. The SCO was officially founded in 2001 with a remit to maintain peace and stability, but it is seen by many as a means of counterbalancing US influence in the region. Despite the differences between member nations not least Russia's suspicion over China's growing political clout and energy interests in the region they are united by their fear of Islamic extremism and the exercises are focused on countering this threat. The first SCO military drills, which didn't include Uzbekistan, took place in 2003, again with an anti-terror theme.