Xi calls on SCO member states to uphold Shanghai Spirit, enhance unity, guard against external forces to instigate 'color revolutions'
Published: Sep 17, 2022 01:26 AM
A man rides past a logo of the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 12, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

A man rides past a logo of the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 12, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

During his speech at the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on SCO member states to uphold the Shanghai Spirit, strengthen unity and cooperation, and promote the building of an even closer SCO community with a shared future. He also called on member states to guard against attempts by external forces to instigate "color revolutions" and jointly oppose interference in internal affairs of other countries.

Experts said the SCO is becoming a stronger force in upholding international order. By appealing to more members to join, it represents an ideal forum for countries, especially at the time when US-led unilateralism, exclusionism and forming of small cliques have wreaked havoc on global stability.

While attending the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO, Xi stressed the successful experience the SCO has accumulated during the past 20 years since its establishment, including political mutual trust, mutually beneficial cooperation, equality, openness, inclusiveness, and equity and upholding justice.

He said this experience embodies the "Shanghai Spirit," namely mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations and pursuit of common development, which is the strong vitality of the organization, and a principle that the organization should uphold.

The spirit enshrines mutual trust and win-win cooperation, and it lays the cornerstone for the prosperity of the organization, Li Yongquan, director of the Eurasian Social Development Research at the Development Research Center of the State Council, told the Global Times. It also offers a model and a future trend for international organizations, Li noted.

Li said that the SCO - which includes economies of all forms and countries with various cultural backgrounds - is shining more brightly on the international stage. "There's no clash within the organization, only prosperity, which represents the ideal model for most countries in terms of international relations," Li noted.

It also offers a sharp contrast with the US habit of forming small cliques, as well as unilateralism, exclusionism and hegemony, said Li.

Xi stressed that the world has entered a new phase of uncertainty and transformation. The once-in-a-century pandemic has continued unabated. Regional conflicts keep flaring up. The Cold War mentality and group politics are resurfacing, so are unilateralism and protectionism. Economic globalization has encountered headwinds. Deficit in peace, development, trust, and governance has grown. Human society has reached a crossroads and faces unprecedented challenges.

Under these new conditions, the SCO, as an important constructive force in international and regional affairs, should keep itself well-positioned in the face of changing international dynamics, ride on the trend of the times, strengthen solidarity and cooperation and build a closer SCO community with a shared future, Xi said.

Xi stressed that "We should guard against attempts by external forces to instigate "color revolution," jointly oppose interference in other countries' internal affairs under any pretext, and hold our future firmly in our own hands."

Growing bigger

Xi said in recent years, an increasing number of countries have applied to join our SCO family. This fully demonstrates the power of SCO's vision and the widely shared confidence in its future.

The Chinese president said by promoting the development and expansion of the SCO and giving full play to its positive impact, we will create strong momentum and new dynamism for ensuring durable peace and common prosperity of the Eurasian continent and the whole world.

The SCO was founded with six members in 2001 and has since expanded to eight, in addition to four observer states and six dialogue partners. The meeting in Samarkand included Iran as the ninth member of the SCO, and also decided to launch the procedure for Belarus' accession.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt also formally became SCO dialogue partners and negotiations will be held for granting Bahrain, the Maldives, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Myanmar as new dialogue partners.

Chinese analysts said it's expected that more countries will apply to become full members of the SCO due to its growing attraction amid the West's efforts to split the world with bloc confrontation.

The attraction of the SCO is that it helps member states safeguard their independence and sovereignty, provides them with broader space for cooperation, and enhances their international voice and influence. It also helps members effectively cope with changes in the international and regional situation, hedge external pressure, respond to security threats, and resolve differences through dialogue and consultation, Zhao Huirong, an Eastern European studies expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday.

Zhao said that China and Russia, as founding members and permanent members of the UN Security Council, have an important leading role in the development of the SCO, and the two countries have common interests in promoting peace and development in the region. The two countries have established a high level of strategic partnership and coordination, which helps to guarantee the stable development of the SCO, Zhao said.

SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming told the media recently that many countries have expressed a desire to become a member, observer state or dialogue partner with the SCO.

The Shanghai Spirit, which features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development, is increasingly important in the current international environment amid hegemony and small cliques, and more countries that prefer multilateralism and peaceful development are attracted by the SCO as the organization can maintain unity and solve stability and development issues in the region, Yang Jin, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.


During his speech at the restricted session of the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO on Friday, Xi urged SCO member states to keep the SCO on the right course, deepen cooperation in various fields, and continue to foster a favorable environment for the development and rejuvenation of member states.

He called on the SCO member states to stay committed to the Shanghai Spirit and enhance solidarity and cooperation, maintain strategic independence and safeguard regional stability, pursue inclusiveness and shared benefits in promoting development cooperation, and advance the SCO expansion process and strengthen SCO institutions.

Zhou Rong, a senior researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies of Renmin University of China, said that the SCO has evolved from an organization mainly focusing on border safety cooperation to incorporating nations from a wider geographical context.

Now, with the potential entry of "mini powerhouses" like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the SCO is likely to become the world's most influential international organization without the participation of the US.

"It will become an organization that represents the emerging industrial nations, which will play a pivotal role in safeguarding world stability and peace," Zhou told the Global Times.

Li also noted that SCO members are hoping for pragmatic cooperation, as some member countries have encountered problems amid the complicated international environment. The SCO serves to bond them together and agglomerate the resources those countries need to solve their problems.

Li offered the example of energy, saying that with the participation of countries such as Iran and Bahrain, SCO members can conduct substantial cooperation in the energy field, which will not only benefit its members, but could also play a significant role in stabilizing the global energy market.

On the supply side, member states and observer states of the SCO already cover a quarter of the world's oil reserves and production, 30 percent of the world's oil refining capacity, close to half of global gas reserves (44 percent), and 30 percent of global gas production.

Xi pledged that China is ready to train 2,000 law enforcement personnel for SCO member states in the next five years, and establish a China-SCO base for training counter-terrorism personnel, so as to enhance capacity-building for law enforcement of SCO member states.

Experts also said that fighting terrorism is an urgent issue the SCO needs to address, but the future looks bright. Members under the SCO framework are working together closely in fighting terrorism, and they always uphold international laws and stick to the principles of sovereign equality and non-interference, Yang Xiyu, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.

Over the years, the SCO has established a very mature mechanism for fighting terrorism, and the member states may prioritize specific measures in specific fields during future cooperation, according to Yang.