BEIJING — The 13th meeting of the Heads of Government Council of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will be held in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, on Dec 15. Established in 2001, the SCO has moved smoothly toward establishing a community of common destiny in the region.
In Astana, visiting Premier Li Keqiang and other SCO heads of government will sum up the developments of the SCO cooperation in various areas in the past year, mull the opportunities and challenges facing the bloc, review the implementation of the consensuses of the Dushanbe summit and formulate the organization’s further development program.
Observers say that over the past 13 years the SCO has developed steadily and become an increasingly strong and important force in the world and that the upcoming meeting will inject new impetus into the grouping’s development.
Since its founding, the SCO has committed to boosting all members’ reciprocal cooperation and promoting the bloc’s mechanism construction with a long-term view. The organization has entered a fast track of expanding pragmatic cooperation and grown into an integral part of the Eurasian security system.
At the SCO summit in Beijing in June 2012, its member states adopted a wide range of important documents, including the Strategic Plan for the Medium-Term Development of the SCO, the Declaration on Building a Region with Lasting Peace and Common Prosperity, and the SCO Regulations on Political and Diplomatic Measures and Mechanism of Response to Events Jeopardizing Regional Peace, Security and Stability, which greatly deepened the members’ collaboration in a variety of fields, clarified the cooperation priorities in the future and concrete measures to this end.
During his visit to Central Asia in September 2013, President Xi Jinping put forward a series of initiatives for strengthening practical cooperation among the SCO member states, which have been echoed very positively by the SCO members.
Later in 2013, the China-initiated outlines for implementing the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation between the SCO Member States were approved at the SCO summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, laying a more solid foundation for deeper cooperation among the SCO members.
In September this year, the SCO held its 14th summit in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe and formulated a development blueprint aimed at regional stability and common prosperity.
In a joint declaration, the six SCO members pledged further concerted efforts to safeguard the security and stability of the region and tackle global challenges on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual trust.
The Dushanbe summit also ratified two documents that define the basic principles of membership enlargement, which set legal, administrative and financial criteria for adopting new members and officially paved the way for aspirant countries to join the bloc.
At present, the SCO is working out a development strategy which will be applicable till 2025 and a guidance document for the bloc’s future development. Such a strategy will definitely inject strong momentum into the organization’s development.
Meanwhile, analysts say that China’s initiatives such as the Silk Road Economic Belt will produce very positive impact on the development of both the SCO and its member states.
At the forthcoming Astana meeting, all participants are expected to table their proposals and ideas on the construction of the economic belt, with a focus on strengthening the inter-connectivity and financial cooperation between the SCO members.