The upcoming 18th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to be held in China is expected to see leaders discuss the implementation of the bloc’s guiding “Shanghai Spirit” and the prospect of a community with a shared future that leads to the common prosperity of member countries.
From June 9 to 10, leaders of SCO member states will gather in China’s eastern seaport and tourist resort of Qingdao, Shandong Province, with the aim of enhancing political support, maintaining regional security and stability, strengthening economic cooperation, as well as expanding people-to-people exchanges.
Established nearly 17 years ago with the initial goal of tackling regional security issues, the SCO, now grouping China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan, has evolved into a comprehensive organization with growing international influence.
In today’s world where profound changes are happening at a rapid pace and uncertainties are on the rise, the SCO has come to realize the urgent need for member countries to stick to the organization’s guiding principles enshrined in what is known as the “Shanghai Spirit.”
The Shanghai Spirit features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity and the pursuit of common development.
In a meeting with a group of foreign ministers from the SCO member countries in late April, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on member countries to remain true to their original aspirations, firmly advocate the Shanghai Spirit, fully unleash the SCO’s potential after its expansion and forge ahead with all-round cooperation.
The SCO welcomed its newest members during the 2017 summit in Astana, Kazakhstan by giving India and Pakistan full membership status.
With eight full members, four observer countries and six dialogue partners, the organization now covers over 60 percent of the Eurasian landmass, nearly half of the world’s population and more than 20 percent of global gross domestic product.
China, Xi said, is ready to work with other member countries to continue to support each other politically, safeguard regional security and stability, gradually establish institutional arrangements of regional economic cooperation, and expand people-to-people exchanges and cultural cooperation.
Also during the foreign ministers’ meeting, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi called the Shanghai Spirit “the fundamental reason why the SCO can keep growing.”
He called for taking the upcoming summit as an opportunity to review the Shanghai Spirit, strengthen solidarity, mutual trust and all-round cooperation, and forge a closer community with a shared future.
“The need for multilateral solutions (for world affairs) is absolutely evident, “ said Anatoly Klimenko, a geopolitics expert at the Far East Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
“As they (the Chinese people) say, it takes two to tango,” he said, stressing the importance of dialogue in solving complicated problems. “A unilateral attitude may result in confrontation,” Klimenko said.
Echoing Xi’s call for institutionalizing regional economic cooperation within the SCO, the expert suggested that certain decision-making structures be created to enable the bloc to act in different sectors, including politics, economy, defense and humanitarian issues.
“Initially, the SCO was perceived as a kind of a club for the discussion of certain problems,” Klimenko said. That perception, he added, has led to a “scientific attitude” shared by Russian and Chinese scholars, one that focuses on restructuring the SCO so as to “give shape and implement the decisions that are taken.”—Xinhua