Upcoming SCO meetings eye on Eurasia’s rising peace and development
Published: Nov 04, 2020 09:00 PM

A flag with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's logo. Photo: AFP

A summit of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will take place on Tuesday via video link, according to SCO press service. The summit will focus on the further development of cooperation in politics, security, and trade. It will also explore economics and strengthening of cultural and humanitarian ties, as well as political dialogues within the framework of the SCO - in particular with the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

This year's SCO summit will be a special one since its founding. It has been a regional organization that covers the largest area of the world with the highest concentration of people - with a vast array of key members and observer states and dialogue partners.  

Against the backdrop of the global instability and uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the SCO will discuss important matters of resolving inner crises, border frictions and military conflicts. 

In particular, China and Russia, as the core member states of the SCO, will play a leading part in enabling the SCO to influence the region and the world.

China has long upheld the SCO spirit and promoted the development of the organization. At this year's summit, China can bring greater help to address the challenges the SCO faces now. 

First of all, as the first country in the world to achieve positive economic growth in 2020, China can provide more priorities for medical support to other member states in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic - such as cooperating with Russia to produce a vaccine. 

Besides, China can continue strengthening its economic links with other countries in the region through the Belt and Road Initiative. It can help them revitalize their economy and restore people's livelihood. In addition, China will make better use of the cooperation space with other member states with its increasingly complex relationships with the West. For example, China's tensions over the coal trade with Australia due to deteriorating bilateral relations can be solved by looking to Kazakhstan. The promotion of such multilateral economic cooperation within the SCO framework will be an important theme at the summit. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club on October 22 that it was "quite possible to imagine" a military alliance with China and Putin further stressed a strategic partnership between the two countries. This was followed by Chinese Foreign Ministry's response saying that there is no limit to China-Russia friendship, nor restricted areas for expanded cooperation.

China and Russia have become the most important forces for maintaining stability in the SCO region and Eurasia. The SCO region is currently facing both traditional and non-traditional security challenges brought about by the failure of global governance during the pandemic. These include the internal political turmoil of Kyrgyzstan, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and the potential terrorism bred from poverty and unemployment. In the face of these challenges, China and Russia will leverage the influence of great powers and make concerted efforts to maintain security and stability in this region through high-level cooperation. 

The SCO spirit itself will continue to play an exemplary role in resolving the boundary issues. It aims to provide a friendly atmosphere for talks between member states. The border issue between China and Kazakhstan, for example, was settled with a friendly and good-faith atmosphere. The SCO spirit strives to resolve differences through equal dialogues and friendly consultations. It furthermore aims to build and strengthen military trust and common military efficiency in border areas.  

The summit will also provide a valuable opportunity for the detente between China and India since the border conflict began in May. It will be the first meeting between President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi since the border standoff. Although the summit will be held online and won't be as effective as face-to-face meetings, having a chance to talk is always good - especially when it comes to dealing with complex boundary issues. This is truly where the SCO spirit can be used, even online. 

Unlike some other organizations such as NATO that seek alliances and confrontation, the SCO is essentially a regional organization that promotes a community of shared future within the region to further promote peace in the world. It strives to resolve conflicts through dialogue and achieve common development through cooperation. This is also the major way to maintain stability and prosperity in the region and achieve win-win.  

The author is director of Institute of European and Asian Studies, China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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