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Turning 20, SCO sparks new global inspirations

By Shi Xiaomeng | Xinhua | Updated: 2021-06-17 07:53
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LI MIN/CHINA DAILY

Tuesday marks the 20th birthday of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that was established to ensure security while promoting prosperity across the vast Eurasian landmass.

In the course of its two decades of development, a Shanghai spirit has gradually taken shape as the organization's bedrock principle featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity and the pursuit of common development.

As today's world has been permanently changed by an unprecedented pandemic, the SCO, galvanized by the Shanghai Spirit, stands as a fine example of how countries can better work with each other in times of global perils and challenges.

First of all, SCO members has demonstrated solidarity in addressing thorny issues like "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and COVID-19 control and prevention. Facing whatever challenges, they can respond with unified actions.

That unity has been reinforced and sustained by the Shanghai Spirit, which has been fundamental to the SCO's growth into an influential bloc in the region and beyond.

Over the past years, the achievements are remarkable. The overall security and stability of the region has been maintained despite a complex regional situation. Social and economic development of various countries has been promoted. More importantly, political trust among SCO members has been largely enhanced, and bonds of friendship have been strengthened among people of SCO member states.

The SCO has promised not to form a small closed-door clique. Under the guidance of the Shanghai Spirit, it has kept its word and stayed open.

The organization was first expanded in 2017 when India and Pakistan joined as full members. With its six founding members -- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, the bloc currently has eight full members, four observer countries and six dialogue partners.

Besides, the bloc has been carrying out all forms of dialogues, exchanges and cooperation with other countries as well as relevant international or regional organizations. The SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group proves to be an effective mechanism that has been working to help facilitate the peace process of the war-torn country for years.

Last but not least, the SCO has shown its inclusiveness in international cooperation. This bloc covers nearly half of the world's population, spans over 60 percent of the Eurasian landmass and includes diverse cultures. Despite their differences, the SCO members have been carrying out practical cooperation by upholding the principle of mutual respect and mutual benefits, which has yielded tangible results including the China-Russia oil pipeline, the China-Central Asia Gas Pipeline, and New Eurasian Land Bridge.

The SCO is not an equivalent of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in the region. Beyond its own framework, the SCO upholds a principle of non-alignment and no directing against any other country or organization. It does not try to divide the world into different camps or instigate ideological prejudices or hatred against any third party.

Decades of development have made the Eurasian regional bloc irreplaceable in today's world. It has safeguarded peace and stability of the region that is of global strategic significance. It has also promoted the building of a new type of international relations highlighting mutual respect, fairness and justice, win-win cooperation.

Entering the post-pandemic era, the world needs new approaches to cope with profound global changes. The Cold War mentality, the zero-sum game, the small clique politics are too obsolete to fit this modern world. In this regard, the SCO as well as the Shanghai Spirit may offer some inspirations.

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