SCO to deepen pragmatic cooperation

16:52, May 19, 2011      

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June 15, 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). During the session of the SCO Foreign Ministers Council recently held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the attendees discussed the development goals for the next decade and reviewed the great contribution the organization has made to regional peace and stability as well as to the economic and social development of member states since its founding.

The development of the organization has been closely linked with the international situation in the past 10 years. Shortly after its inception, the presidents of its six member states — China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — signed the "Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism."

After the 9/11 attacks, the member states strengthened counter-terrorism cooperation, which helped build up mutual trust in the organization. Currently, the guidelines on military cooperation among SCO member and observer states call for strengthening counter-terrorism cooperation in Central Asia, conducting anti-terrorism military exchanges, carrying out joint counter-terrorism campaigns and coordinating national anti-terrorism policies.

Several SCO member and observer states conducted a joint anti-terror drill in early May codenamed "Tianshan-II" in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region's Kashgar in hopes of further enhancing security cooperation. Joint anti-terror drills have become a tradition of the organization.

However, the SCO is not a military alliance or a quasi-military alliance. As the successor to the Shanghai Five Group, the organization is firmly committed to maintaining regional peace and promoting common development, and strictly adheres to the principles of non-alignment.

All member states give top priority to promoting economic development and improving people's lives, and economic cooperation has become the most important job for the organization. Military cooperation within the framework of the SCO is not a threat to any country, and the SCO's nature as a regional security organization will not change despite external military pressure.

The SCO has continued to expand the areas of cooperation over recent years, establishing economic, trade, cultural and military cooperation as its core content. It is worth noting that member countries are committed to promoting the stable economic development in the region since the international financial crisis. With increasingly close economic cooperation among member countries, the SCO has played a significant role in jointly coping with the international financial crisis through means of advancing pragmatic cooperation in various areas.

The SCO has unique characteristics because it is designed as a regional cooperation organization and the cooperation among its member countries involve areas such as politics, economy, security and culture. The SCO was established based on the philosophy of military security and cooperation under the premise of not being directed against any other country or international organization.

As the organization is open, cooperative and not directed against any third party, its international influence has continued to expand and the number of its partners has been on the continuous rise. This has not only further enhanced the organization's international influence but also laid the foundation for its further development and the expansion of the potential for cooperation.

People are aware that this meeting of the SCO Foreign Ministers Council has put forward proposals for the organization's development goals over the next 10 years, including highlighting the establishment of a pragmatic partnership network. Economic cooperation will not only be the natural demand of every member country but will also have enormous potential over the next 10 years. Strengthening economic functions and deepening cultural exchanges will become a major development direction of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization over the next 10 years.

By People's Daily Online

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