CHINA / DIPLOMACY
Xi to attend SCO summit
Enhanced cooperation with key regional powers expected on Afghan issue: experts
Published: Sep 16, 2021 10:47 PM
Leaders of Armenia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and official of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) pose for a photo prior to the CSTO meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Thursday. Photo: VCG

Leaders of Armenia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and official of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) pose for a photo prior to the CSTO meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Thursday. Photo: VCG



Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the 21st meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and a  joint summit of the leaders of the SCO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization(CSTO) member states on the Afghanistan issue by video link on Friday. 

Analysts believe that China is expected to contribute its wisdom to enhance cooperation with other influential regional powers including Russia on the Afghan issue that are likely to dominate the summits in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday applauded the SCO's fruitful achievements on its 20th anniversary, calling the system an innovative model to promote regional cooperation and common prosperity. 

The Foreign Ministry said Xi and other leaders will summarize the successful experience of SCO and exchange ideas on SCO cooperation and major international and regional affairs.  

Emomali Rakhmon, President of Tajikistan, expressed willingness to strengthen communication with China on the Afghan issue to further protect regional peace when he met with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who arrived in Tajikistan to attend the SCO meeting. 

The SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group has been established to bring Afghanistan closer to the SCO, considering Afghanistan, a current observer member of the grouping, is interested in becoming a full member, observers said. 

The summits in Dushanbe gather most of Afghanistan's neighbors' leaders for the first time after the Taliban announced an interim government. A joint declaration on Afghanistan issues may come out of the summit, experts said. 

The SCO is believed to be an effective tool in solving the challenges brought by political changes in Afghanistan, as the group covers almost all important regional stakeholders who come as either official members or observers, Wang Shida, an expert from Contemporary International Relations Research Academy of China, told the Global Times.

With the withdrawal of US troops, the foreign policy of the new Taliban government is expected to shift from historically pro-US to a more regional-leaning one which requires the SCO to play a bigger role, the expert noted. China-Russia ties will be enhanced in continuous exchanges of their solutions on Afghanistan via the platform.

But internal conflicts among some SCO participants, such as Pakistan and India, bring barriers to reaching consensus on the Afghan issue in a quick manner, Wang warned.

It is widely expected that Chinese leader will bring Chinese wisdom to solve the Afghan issue at SCO summit, such as urging US-led Western countries to perform their duties, properly managing the risk of terrorism spillover, and creatively reconstructing post-war Afghanistan, Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies in Lanzhou University, told the Global Times.

With close communication with SCO members, China encourages Afghanistan for an open and inclusive political structure, prudent domestic and foreign policies, and a clear cut-off with all terrorist organizations, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Thursday.

The situation in Afghanistan and its impact on security of the CSTO members became the highlight at the Collective Security Council of CSTO on Thursday, with the consensus that the current unpredictable political and military condition in the region cause serious concerns.

At the council meeting, CSTO members agreed to implement measures to protect southern borders as the situation deteriorates in Afghanistan, Sputnik reported. 

China and Russia, two major powers of the SCO, have made outstanding achievements in regional security and counter-terrorism in the past 20 years since the group's founding, as the SCO serves to counter unilateralism of the US and oppose its hegemonic power, Li Yonghui, a senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. 

The CSTO and SCO platforms have effectively cracked down on the "three evil forces" (terrorism, extremism and separatism) and ensured the peace and stability of central Asia, southern Russia and northwest China, Li said.

"The mutual trust between China and Russia is being further consolidated, which is also reflected in recent close information exchanges after the US' withdrawal. Further cooperation is expected," Li suggested.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization by video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia on Thursday. Putin was in self-isolation after people in his inner circle confirmed infections of COVID-19. Photo: VCG

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization by video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia on Thursday. Putin was in self-isolation after people in his inner circle confirmed infections of COVID-19. Photo: VCG



Meantime, Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February next year at the invitation of China, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced on Friday.

Lavrov previously said no CSTO member agrees to host US troops once they leave Afghanistan, questioning Washington's goals in the region, Ankara-based Anadolu Agency reported.

CSTO countries are against hosting Afghan refugees and foreign military bases on their territories, the press office of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Thursday, Sputnik reported.

Tokayev took part in a session of the CSTO Collective Security Council in Dushanbe on Thursday.

The leaders of CSTO also approved the plan on equipping Collective Rapid Reaction Forces with modern weapons on Thursday. 

The heads of the SCO member states are expected to decide on launching the procedure for admitting Iran as a full member state and granting Dialogue Partner status to Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Secretary General of the organization Vladimir Norov told TASS on Tuesday. 

The SCO's influence is expanding with members from various continents, which also reflects the SCO's growing appeal, Li suggested.

The organization's influence may extend beyond its borders, such as boosting the Central-Southeast Asia economy through a tripartite cooperation with ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Union, Li added.
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