World / SCO meeting

'Shanghai Spirit' draws new members to join SCO

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-06-22 14:31

BEIJING -- India and Pakistan are expected to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as members at its 16th meeting of the Council of Heads of State in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent on June 23-24.

The expansion of the group from six members to eight is an eloquent testimony to the drawing power of the SCO's underlying values -- the "Shanghai Spirit" of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of shared development.

Born together with the "Shanghai Five" 20 years ago, the "Shanghai Spirit" not only serves as the core value of the SCO, but also has contributed to the growing influence of Central Asia as a whole.

"It used to be a Central Asian bloc that pursues collective security. With two more members, the group is establishing itself as a Eurasian bloc that can achieve more both in terms of security and economy," said Wang Yiwei, a senior fellow of international relations at China's Renmin University.


As an effective and constructive regional mechanism, the SCO has gained a reputation for successfully protecting regional stability.

Its predecessor, the "Shanghai Five" that grouped China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, has successfully guarded Central Asia against conflicts thanks to two important regional treaties signed under the guidance of the "Shanghai Spirit," the Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions in 1996 and the Treaty on Reduction of Military Forces in Border Regions in 1997.

The treaties, said Erik Ashimov, Kazakhstan's permanent delegate to the SCO Secretariat, are "unprecedented" because they have "turned the once conflicting border areas into peaceful ones that even serve as a bond of friendship between bordering countries."

In 2001, the bloc included Uzbekistan in the "Shanghai Five" mechanism before the six countries adopted the Declaration of the SCO in June, leading the organization to attain a higher level of international cooperation.

Since its establishment, the bloc has effectively fought against traditional security threats like the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism as well as non-traditional ones like cross-border crimes.

"The SCO has yielded the most impressive results in security cooperation through such joint efforts as regular anti-terrorism training exercises, exchange of information on terrorist activities, and coordinated actions of the intelligence departments," said Alexander Lukin, director of the Center for East Asian and SCO Studies at the Moscow State University for International Relations.

According to Sergey Katyrin, president of Russia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the SCO, carrying forward the "Shanghai Spirit," has contributed greatly to regional stability, steadily gaining influence as an effective working mechanism of peacekeeping and a guarantor of stability in the Eurasian region.

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