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International experts positively assess results of SCO summit ended in Beijing

16:53 | 18.06.2012 | Analytic


18 June 2012. PenzaNews. International experts continue to discuss the results of the 12th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Beijin. Ten files to further improve practical cooperation of the countries were signed during the summit.

Photo taken from the site SCO 2012

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The most important documents of the summit include: Declaration of the Heads of State of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on Building a Region of Lasting Peace and Common Prosperity; resolution on the medium-term development strategy for the SCO; updated resolution on political and diplomatic measures of response to the situations, which threaten peace, security and stability in the region; and program of cooperation in the struggle against terrorism, separatism and extremism for 2013–2015.

Moreover, Afghanistan gained an observer status with the SCO and Turkey became its dialogue partner.

The SCO summit in 2012 has made substantial achievement in expanding its geopolitical influence to a larger area through cooperation and dialogue with these countries. Dr. Chen Gang, Research Fellow at East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore, expressed this opinion in the interview with news agency “PenzaNews.”

“It is possible that the SCO could also play a larger role in international financial and economic affairs since member states are talking about cooperation expansion from security to banking area,” the analyst noted.

The expert described relations between the major players of this regional organization, Russia and China, as good and stable; according to him, the partnership is based on fast-growing economic and trade ties and geopolitical consensus over plenty of international issues.

“Sino-Russian partnership and partnership between the SCO members and observers will be strengthened, since their positions, which are different from the position of the West, and especially the US, are very similar,” Chen Gang said.

Jonas Parello-Plesner, Senior Policy Fellow at European Council on Foreign Relations, (ECFR) also suggested that Moscow and Beijing have successfully worked together on several fronts.

“China and Russia partner up in the UN Security Council, in the regional cooperation of their own making, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and together with the other BRIC-countries. The countries in most cases can find an agreement,” the expert stated.

However, according to him, this is an axis of convenience and not a fundamental driver of international relations. For Beijing, Moscow, being a useful regional ally in Central Asia, is almost an afterthought.

Discussing the results of the summit, Anatoly Tsyganok, the director for the Center of Military Forecasting at the Moscow Institute of Political and Military Analysis, believes that the most important decision taken during the meeting was that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization would not turn into “Eastern NATO.”

“The SCO will not become a NATO-style military alliance and China’s view on this issue was fundamental. Meanwhile, the war on terror still remains one of the key priorities of the organization,” he said.

Sharing the view of many foreign experts, the Russian analyst also suggested that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will become more powerful and influential in economic terms.

“In 20 years the GDP of the SCO countries could reach half of the world’s, despite the fact that today leading positions in this list are occupied by the countries of Europe and the USA,” said Anatoly Tsyganok.

In the opinion of Kazakhstani political scientist Dosym Satpayev, the SCO is trying to position itself as a “mediator in resolution of specific conflicts.”

“This is confirmed by the fact that Russia and China actively defend their position on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program and often provide a rostrum to the leader of the Islamic Republic for presentations in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” the analyst emphasized.

Nevertheless, from his point of view, Iran will not become a member of the SCO soon, since most members of the organization oppose it due to Iran’s fragile relations with the international community.

“In recent years China, which is the core of the SCO’s, attempts to strengthen the organization. PRC has invested considerable resources into the alliance and is actively promoting the idea of creating a joint economic project of integration and closer economic cooperation,” Dosym Satpayev stated.

However, this course of events, according to several foreign and Russian experts, does not satisfy Moscow, which wants the alliance to be a structure that only provides security in the region.

Thus, Research Fellow of the European Council on Foreign Relations Nicu Popescu suggested that Russia is interested in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, primarily as in a platform for discussion of security issues and regional cooperation.

“The Russian Federation does not favor the development of the economic component of the SCO because it fears too much transparency in relations with China,” he emphasized.

Russia, according to the analyst, can not afford to become a very close partner of strong and influential China, because it does not want to be a “little brother” in such an alliance.

“Cooperation with China is profitable and necessary for development, for example, of the Far East and Siberia, but at the same time it scares Russia. Moscow fears that Beijing will have an impact on the local elites, and this will, inter alia, affect distribution of natural resources,” said Nicu Popescu.

The expert also added that at this stage political relations between Russia and China are much better and more stable than Russia’s relations with Europe and the USA.

“But if you move away from political rhetoric and geopolitical schemes, then Russia is more deeply integrated into the Western economy and preferably let foreign investors participate in its economy,” the analyst reminded and added that Beijing wants Moscow to be more economically open.

Commenting on the results of the meeting, Senior Fellow at the Center for Political Studies of Russia Vadim Kozyulin noted that the summit had once again demonstrated a complete understanding of the SCO members on the issues of combating terrorism, separatism and extremism.

“Russia, China, and the republics of Central Asia agree on these points. The contradictions arise discussing economic aspect of the problem, and theses contradictions become more and more obvious,” he emphasized.

According to him, Russia can not offer China an equal partnership because of the lack of its economic potential, as well as reluctance to operate on equal terms, even where this is possible.

“China is investing in joint projects 10 billion dollars, Russia is trying to avoid serious investment but hopes to retain control over the economic cooperation,” Vadim Kozyulin stated.

Nevertheless, the SCO, according to the analysts, will develop dynamically, and will probably find a format in which economic cooperation would be possible without the rivalry between the major players of the alliance.

“There is commitment and visionary leaders in Russia and China to accomplish this. Nevertheless, in the foreseeable future, the SCO will remain, first and foremost, an organization aimed at maintaining regional security,” Senior Fellow at the Center for Political Studies of Russia concluded.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization or SCO is an intergovernmental mutual-security organization which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

The main goals and tasks of the SCO are: to strengthen mutual trust, friendship and goodneighborliness between the member States; to jointly counteract terrorism, separatism and extremism in all their manifestations, to fight against illicit narcotics and arms trafficking; to facilitate comprehensive and balanced economic growth, social and cultural development in the region.

The SCO member states are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The observer countries of the SCO are India, Mongolia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Dialogue Partners are Belarus, Sri Lanka, Turkey.

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