Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Strengthen 'Shanghai Spirit'

By Yang Jiechi (China Daily) Updated: 2011-06-15 07:53

Strengthen 'Shanghai Spirit'

The SCO has come a long way in 10 years and the Astana summit will set out strategic plans for the journey ahead

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On June 15, a summit meeting commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will be held in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. The presidents of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will join together to discuss major issues concerning the development of the SCO. This is a historic meeting, as the leaders will review the SCO's journey over the past 10 years and draw up a blueprint for its future development. It will leave an indelible imprint in the annals of the SCO.

Ten years ago, the international political and economic order was on the eve of profound adjustment. Terrorist, extremist and separatist forces became the biggest menace to regional security and stability. Countries in the region shared a growing desire to enhance mutual trust, carry out mutually beneficial cooperation and address challenges through joint efforts. It was against this background that the SCO came into being.

Over the past 10 years, the SCO member states have signed more than 100 important cooperation documents and established multi-tiered, wide-ranging consultation mechanisms. They have made considerable progress in their cooperation. From the Declaration on the Establishment of the SCO to the Treaty of Long-term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, from the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism to the Agreement on Intergovernmental Cooperation in Ensuring International Information Security, from the Program on Multilateral Economic and Trade Cooperation to the Agreement on Intergovernmental Cultural Cooperation, SCO cooperation has been broadening and deepening, covering political, security, economic, cultural and other fields.

The SCO takes fighting terrorist, extremist and separatist forces as its most important mission. The member states stated their determination to fight the three forces at their very first summit. Since then, they have worked hard to maintain the security of the member states and the entire region. Over the last 10 years, they have conducted more than 10 joint counter-terrorism exercises, jointly fought against drug trafficking and transnational organized crime and expanded their cooperation to include combating money laundering and ensuring security during major international events.

The SCO is committed to advancing regional economic integration and endeavors to promote region-wide common prosperity. The parties have engaged in practical cooperation in finance, energy, transportation, telecommunications and agriculture, made concerted efforts to counter the financial crisis and address challenges brought by globalization, and made substantial progress in trade and investment facilitation and connectivity. China has pledged a total of more than $12 billion in concessional loans to other member states.

The purposes and principles of the SCO are widely recognized by the international community. An increasing number of countries and international organizations have expressed the hope of establishing cooperative ties with the SCO and it now has four observer states, namely India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan, and two dialogue partners, namely Belarus and Sri Lanka. It has established cooperative relations with the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and so on. The SCO is also actively engaged in the efforts to address the issue of Afghanistan and has contributed its share to speeding up Afghanistan's reconstruction process.

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