Sino-Russian ties backbone of SCO

Xing Guangcheng
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, 06 06, 2018
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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Qingdao, Shandong province, on June 9-10 is of great practical significance, as the SCO has played a major role in restoring and maintaining peace and security in the region since its establishment in 2001.

China and Russia have led the efforts to safeguard regional security through close strategic cooperation within the framework of the SCO. A relationship of mutual trust and promotion, enhanced by the strategic partnership of coordination between the two countries, has enabled them to facilitate and advance various measures within the organization, which in turn has enabled the steady and solid development of the SCO.

Aside from taking part in the SCO Summit, Vladimir Putin will also pay his first state visit to China after being re-elected Russian president, which will further deepen Sino-Russian friendship.

In recent years, a slew of countries including China, Russia and Kazakhstan have successively proposed their own concepts and programs for regional economic cooperation, with China putting forward the Belt and Road Initiative and Russia the Eurasian Economic Union. Russia, however, has stated its support for the Belt and Road Initiative and inked an agreement to ensure collaboration between the initiative and the EEU.

Russia also wants the EEU to connect with the SCO and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to make extensive economic cooperation among Eurasian countries a reality. As such, China is expected to deepen its cooperation and partnership with Russia.

While the EEU's focus is on economic cooperation among five former Soviet republics, the SCO has not taken any major steps on the economic front, as it has been serving mainly as a security bloc. Therefore, the two organizations should further tap their cooperation potential to bring economic and other benefits to the region and beyond. And, as the leading forces in these two organizations, China and Russia should play a greater role in bringing the two blocs closer.

In the years ahead, China and Russia both will play vital roles in maintaining world peace and security while helping maintain a strategic balance in the face of huge pressures from the United States. This would require the two countries to continue strengthening the foundation of their comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination on bilateral, multilateral and global fronts. In this regard, Putin's visit to China will not only promote bilateral ties but also facilitate the development of the SCO.

For all these reasons and more, the Qingdao summit is set to become another landmark in the history of the SCO.

In particular, it is of vital importance that China and Russia pay closer attention to coordination among the SCO member states and work to strike a balance between different, even conflicting interests in the SCO after the entry of new members. After all, the future of the bloc depends on sound and constructive interactions among its member states. Also, the expansion of the SCO requires its member states, especially China and Russia, to make more efforts to coordinate and facilitate the long-term development of the organization.

First, China and Russia should help the new member states, India and Pakistan, to get acquainted with the working procedure, rules of action, as well as the Shanghai Spirit which is characterized by mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity, and pursuit of common development.

Second, they should further capitalize on the enthusiasm and potential of the Central Asian countries, so as to increase the cohesion within the SCO.

And third, they should work together to help the SCO to establish close cooperation with other multilateral organizations.

China and Russia have upheld the principle of mutual benefit on an equal footing in exchanges with other SCO members in accordance with the Shanghai Spirit, although they play a much bigger role and have a huge influence within the bloc. Their respect for diversity and inclusiveness has not only won them the trust and esteem of the other member states, but also demonstrated that, as major players on the global stage, they are serious about their responsibilities.

Cooperation is the most prominent feature of the SCO while the Shanghai Spirit serves as the soul of the organization. The member states, including China and Russia, value cooperation as their most important institutional idea, which explains why the SCO has made so many remarkable achievements since its establishment.

This idea of cooperation should to be upheld and cherished by every member state to ensure the SCO's smooth development in the future, while China and Russia should continue to act as the facilitators and propellers of cooperation within the organization. Equally important, the two countries, along with the other member states, should explore new areas of development and search for more effective ways and new models of cooperation to make the SCO an increasingly active and dynamic organization.

The author is director of and a researcher at the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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