‘SCO family’ shows unique value: Global Times editorial
Published: Sep 18, 2021 12:51 AM


The 21st meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Friday. Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the summit by video link. The SCO will launch procedures to admit Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar as new dialogue partners of the SCO and admit Iran as a member state. The SCO has welcomed a new round of expansion. The "SCO family" has shown its strong vitality and broad development prospects.

There is no Western country in the SCO member states. Turkey, a dialogue partner of the SCO, is the only member of NATO related to the SCO. In the 20 years since the SCO's establishment, the West has been constantly badmouthing and questioning it. Proud Westerners believe that the SCO will not last long, but the SCO has walked a path far beyond their expectation. Today, the SCO has become the most extensive and populous comprehensive regional cooperation organization worldwide. It is full of vitality. On the contrary, NATO, the largest political and military organization led by the West, is regarded as experiencing a "brain death" by itself.

Why? Fundamentally, it is because the SCO is practicing real multilateralism which is in the common interest of everyone. The original intention of the SCO was to seek consensus and win-win situation. It aims at resolving problems, not to unite to deal with anyone, nor is it a geopolitical tool dominated by a major power. When the SCO was established, the founding member states profoundly summarized their successful cooperation experience and creatively proposed the Shanghai Spirit - mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development. When facing problems, SCO members would negotiate to reach a consensus and there is an equal vote for every country, whether big or small.

The West has gouged the heart of a gentleman with their own mean measures, and it will inevitably misjudge the SCO. There are huge differences between SCO member states, observer states and dialogue partners. There are complicated disputes and even conflicts among them. For example, India and Pakistan are both SCO member states. However, the SCO did not fail due to their participation, nor did China and Russia fight each other as two major powers, as the way some Westerners expected. This shows that the SCO members have found their greatest common ground in an effective way. This important institutional experiment in the non-Western world after the Cold War has increasingly demonstrated its unique value.

The SCO's achievements are remarkable. Taking 2020 as an example, the competent authorities of SCO member states destroyed more than 50 terrorist groups and prevented more than 40 terrorist attacks, effectively combating the "three evil forces" - terrorism, extremism and separatism - drug smuggling and transnational organized crime. In 2020, the total economic value and foreign trade of SCO member states had increased by 11 times and 8 times, respectively, compared with the beginning of its establishment. There have been no serious armed conflicts or wars in Central Asia over the past 20 years. The SCO has played an important role in preventing wars.

On Friday, leaders of the SCO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization member states also held a joint summit on the Afghan issue by video link. They discussed how to help the Afghan people overcome difficulties and jointly maintain the peace and stability that is "more valuable than gold." The constructive role that the SCO can play in the Afghan chaos has become more prominent. All the neighboring countries of Afghanistan, as well as Afghanistan itself, are under the framework of the SCO. 

Making good use of platforms such as the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group can actively promote the smooth transition of the situation in Afghanistan, and guide Afghanistan to build a broad and inclusive political structure. It can also guide Afghanistan to pursue a prudent and moderate domestic and foreign policy, resolutely combat all forms of terrorism, get along well with neighboring countries and really embark on the path of peace, stability and development.

The SCO's positive role and NATO once again constitute a sharp contrast regarding the Afghan issue. NATO is indeed an expert in causing havoc. The US and the West ran away leaving a mess in Afghanistan. Now the SCO, out of a high sense of responsibility, comes to help Afghanistan. It's clear which one is good.

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