Global Times: SCO expands membership and intl appeal as President Xi outlines priorities of solidarity, shared benefits

BEIJINGSept. 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Friday signed the Samarkand Declaration and a series of documents and statements fruitful not only for regional countries Achieved achievements but also to the international community, showing the world the Organization’s and regional countries’ common pursuit of stability and development amidst a complicated global geopolitical situation.

The prosperous organization becomes a stronger force in maintaining international order by appealing to more countries to join, and plays a more important role in the global economic stage, such as the stabilizing force of international energy and food markets. The region is working closely to redouble its efforts to counter terrorism in the region. The SCO represents an ideal international relationship that countries have long desired, experts said.

President Xi attended the limited session of the 22nd meeting of the SCO Heads of State on Friday. In a keynote speech, he pointed out that since its inception more than 20 years ago, the SCO has upheld the Shanghai spirit and successfully blazed a new trail for the development of international organizations.

Xi also outlined several priorities for the future of SCO state members, including adhering to the Shanghai spirit and strengthening solidarity and cooperation, upholding strategic independence and safeguarding regional stability, pursuing inclusion and shared benefits in promoting the Development cooperation and advancing the SCO expansion process and strengthening the SCO institutions.

Zhu Yongbiao, executive director of the Belt and Road Research Center and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies Lanzhou University, told the Global Times on Friday that the fruitful content of the Samarkand Declaration showed that the SCO is on the way to evolve from a regional organization to a more international organization, while its membership grows along with the issues of concern of the member states .

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The Shanghai spirit upheld by SCO members can also be applied in dealing with international issues, Zhu said.

On Friday, SCO member nations signed the Samarkand Declaration, making statements on ensuring global food and energy security, combating climate change and maintaining a secure, stable and diversified supply chain.

In addition to traditional regional security and development cooperation, the Samarkand Declaration also included various international issues such as concerns about unilateral protectionist measures undermining the multilateral trading system. It also showed that the SCO has matured and contributed more to the international system of governance and improving the global order, Zhu said.

The call for joint efforts to fight terrorism is an important part of the declaration. It noted that, based on each country’s laws and coordination, state members are working to formulate common principles and positions to establish a unified list prohibiting terrorist, separatist and extremist activities.

The expansion of various anti-terrorist institutions into a comprehensive security threat center, as well as joint statements on issues such as food security and climate change, are a natural extension after 20 years of the organization’s development and also a necessary step in the face of new security challenges facing the region, Zhu said.

In addition to emphasizing joint efforts to counter terrorism, the Samarkand Declaration has also raised member states’ concerns about space security and other contentious areas.

“Member States stand for keeping outer space free of weapons of any kind and emphasize the great importance of the consistent implementation of the existing legal framework, which only provides for the peaceful uses of outer space,” the document reads.

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According to Zhu, the SCO’s proposals on international issues have greatly strengthened the UN’s importance and ability to integrate, since many international mechanisms represent the will of developed countries but do not fully consider developing countries.

Grow bigger with a brighter future

One of the most important achievements in Samarkand is the enlargement of the member states. The SCO was founded in 2001 with six members and has since grown to eight, in addition to four Observer States and six Dialogue Partners. A Memorandum of Obligations occurs on Friday Iran SCO membership was signed and SCO members began an admissions process Belarus to the SCO.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt by signing the relevant documents, they formally become SCO dialogue partners, and negotiations are held on granting them Bahrainthe Maldives and other states the status of dialogue partners.

Chinese analysts said that with the SCO’s growing appeal, more countries are expected to apply for full membership.

The appeal of the SCO is that it helps member states maintain their independence and sovereignty, gives them a greater space to work together, and strengthens their international voice and influence. It also helps members effectively deal with changes in the international and regional situation, hedge external pressures and respond to security threats, and resolve differences through dialogue and consultation, Zhao Huirong, an expert in East European studies from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday.

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Said Zhao China and Russia, as founding members and permanent members of the UN Security Council, play an important leadership role in the development of the SCO, and the two countries share common interests in promoting peace and development in the region and are advancing many initiatives. The two countries have built a high degree of strategic coordination partnership, which largely guarantees the stable development of the SCO, Zhao said.

SCO Secretary General Zhang Ming recently told the media that many other countries have also expressed hope of becoming members, observer states or dialogue partners.

The Shanghai spirit, characterized by mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for different civilizations and the pursuit of common development, is growing in the current international environment amidst hegemony and small cliques and more and more countries adopting multilateralism and peaceful Favoring development, more and more attracted to the SCO because the organization can maintain unity and solve stability and development problems in the region, Yangjinan associate researcher at the Institute of Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Zhou Ronga senior researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies of Renmin University of Chinasaid the SCO has evolved from an organization primarily focused on border security cooperation to engaging nations from a broader geographic context.

“It will become an organization representing the emerging nations that will play a central role in maintaining stability and peace in the world,” Zhou said.

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