SCO grows from regional body to global force for common development and security

Chinese President Xi Jinping poses for a group photo with other leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states ahead of the restricted session of the 22nd meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council at the Samarkand International Conference Center, Uzbekistan, Sept. 16, 2022. (Xinhua/Li Tao)

As Chinese President Xi Jinping and other world leaders gathered in Samarkand on September 16 for the 22nd meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of State Council, humanity came to a critical moment and struggles to cope with a torrent of unprecedented global challenges.

Addressing the summit, Xi described the SCO “as an important constructive force in international and regional affairs,” saying it bears an important responsibility in maintaining peace and development of the Eurasian continent.

FOR COMMON SECURITY

In a highly interdependent world, the destinies of all nations are intertwined. Moreover, without security, there will be no development to speak of.

The SCO was born more than two decades ago with the fundamental mission of combating the three forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism. Over the years, security cooperation has remained a top priority for member states within the framework of the SCO.

From signing the anti-terrorism convention and conducting joint military exercises to suppressing the spread of extremist ideology on the Internet and promoting the peace process in Afghanistan, the SCO has witnessed cooperation nascent security between its members on the regional and international scenes. To build a safer world, SCO members can and must do more.

Speaking at the SCO summit in Samarkand on September 16, Xi warned that the world today is not a peaceful place, as the rivalry between two sets of political choices – unity or division, cooperation or confrontation – becomes more acute. He then called for continued efforts to foster an enabling environment for the development and rejuvenation of Member States.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping makes a remark while attending the 22nd meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of State Council at the Samarkand International Conference Center in Uzbekistan on Sept. 16, 2022. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

Calling on the international community to expand security cooperation, he said that “China’s proposed Global Security Initiative (GSI) aims to address the peace deficit and global security challenges. It calls on all countries to remain faithful to the vision of a common and global policy”. , cooperative and sustainable and build a balanced, efficient and sustainable security architecture.”

“We invite all stakeholders to get involved in the implementation of this initiative,” he added.

Sergei Lukonin, head of the Department of Chinese Politics and Economics at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said Xi’s proposed GSI “can definitely bring new directions further for the peaceful development of the whole world.”

“I believe the GSI will help build an indivisible, just and equitable global security community,” said Joseph Matthews, senior professor at BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh.

DEVELOPMENT FOR ALL

While SCO members face similar security challenges, they also share common aspirations for better and more widely shared development. In fact, within a few decades, the SCO has become a major force for common development in the region and beyond.

Under China’s proposed Belt and Road Initiative, the SCO has opened up huge development opportunities for the region and the rest of the world by boosting connectivity. He also advanced the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the development strategies of countries in the region.

The combined economic size of the SCO countries has increased about 13 times since its inception. And due to the strong economic complementarity among SCO members, their trade relations have also soared over the years. In 2021, China’s trade with other SCO members reached $343.1 billion, up 40 percent year on year. In general, the foreign trade of SCO members amounted to 6.6 trillion dollars in 2021, which is 100 times more than 20 years ago.

Looking to the future, the Chinese president at the September 16 summit urged members to seek inclusiveness and shared benefits in promoting development cooperation, saying they should actively promote trade liberalization and facilitation. trade and investment, ensure the stable and smooth functioning of industry and supply chains, and encourage the orderly circulation of resources and factors of production, so as to achieve greater economic integration and development in the region .

In a statement delivered via video during the general debate of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2021, Xi proposed a Global Development Initiative (GDI) to steer global development towards a new stage of balanced growth, coordinated and inclusive. in the face of the severe shocks of COVID-19.

At the SCO summit in Samarkand, he pledged that “China is ready to work with all other stakeholders to pursue this initiative (GDI) in our region to support the sustainable development of countries in the region.”

The GDI, said Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov, is in line with the trend of the times and the aspirations of the people of all countries: the desire for peace, cooperation and development.

Calling the GDI “superb”, Muhammadjon Obidov, president of the Creative Union of Journalists of the Ferganar region in Uzbekistan, said that “the message of this initiative is to promote poverty reduction, ensure security food and dynamic development and, above all, to build a community with a shared future for global development.”

STAY COMMITTED TO THE SPIRIT OF SHANGHAI

As the global community grapples with common challenges like the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and global warming, no country can tackle them alone. Over the years, the SCO has successfully explored a path to strengthen global solidarity to meet such challenges under the guidance of the Spirit of Shanghai.

The experience from the success of the SCO is that countries should respect each other’s core interests and choice of development path; that they must remain faithful to the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits; that they should treat each other as equals and reject the practice of the strong bullying the weak or the great bullying the small; and that they should uphold harmonious coexistence and mutual learning between different countries, nations and cultures, dialogue among civilizations and the search for common ground while setting aside differences.

“We must stand firm in safeguarding the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law, practice the common values ​​of humanity, and reject the zero-sum game and bloc politics. .to uphold genuine multilateralism, improve governance and ensure that the international order is more just and equitable,” Xi said.

The very fact that the SCO has accepted new members and dialogue partners can prove the inclusiveness of the group as well as its growing global popularity. At the September 16 summit, Iran officially became a full member of the SCO. The meeting also launched Belarus’ accession procedure, granted Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar the status of SCO dialogue partners and reached an agreement on the admission of Bahrain. , Maldives, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Myanmar as new dialogue partners. The expansion of the SCO makes the organization an even stronger force for global equity and justice.
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Chinese President Xi Jinping poses for a group photo with other leaders and guests ahead of the 22nd meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of State Council in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Sept. Xi attended the meeting and delivered a speech. (Xinhua/Li Tao)

And these SCO practices fully embody the Shanghai spirit of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for the diversity of civilizations and pursuit of common development.

Farhad Javanbakht Kheirabadi, a China specialist at Shahid Beheshti University in Iran, said “cooperation and coordination within the framework of the SCO can lay the foundation for the expansion of multilateralism, help solve global problems and give people hope.”

Alexey Avdonin, an analyst at the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, echoed Javanbakht Kheirabadi, saying the SCO has not only brought benefits to the peoples of its member states, but also peace, order and prosperity. in the world.

As more and more countries want to join the SCO, it shows that the SCO vision enjoys broad popular support and has played a tangible role in promoting the building of a community with a shared future. for Humanity.

(This is a sponsored post)

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