China said on Monday it was willing to consider any application from NATO-member Turkey to join a Russian and Chinese-led security bloc, after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his country could join.
China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2001 to fight threats posed by radical Islam and drug trafficking from neighboring Afghanistan.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Turkey was already a "dialogue partner" of the regional bloc and had for a long time closely cooperated with it.
China attached great importance to Turkey's wish to strengthen that cooperation, he told a news briefing.
"We are willing, together with other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and in accordance with the rules of its legal documents, to seriously study it on the basis of consensus consultation," Geng added, without elaborating.