SCO blueprints future cooperation for common stability, development

13/09/2014 16:37
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, September 13, 2014, Asia-Plus -- The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held its 14th summit In Dushanbe on September 12 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.

They also vowed to expand collaboration in political, economic and cultural areas, and build the region of the SCO into a place of lasting peace, friendship, good-neighborliness, prosperity and harmony.

President Vladimir Putin said that Russia, which assumed the group's rotating presidency, will seek to boost the SCO's role in preserving regional stability.

Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward a four-point proposal for the further development of the bloc: 1) the Chinese president called on the SCO members to take it as their own responsibility to safeguard regional security and stability; 2) the SCO member states should adhere to the goal of common development and prosperity, President Xi said, calling for more extensive and higher-level cooperation in trade and investment; 3) all SCO members need to comprehensively promote people-to-people exchanges, the Chinese president said, suggesting that they strengthen capacity-building on international communication, enhance media cooperation, and support personnel training in the fields of public policy, administration and judiciary; and 4) the SCO should expand external exchanges and cooperation, Xi said, calling for broader cooperation between the SCO's members and observers as well as more communication with its dialogue partners.

One of the major outcomes of the summit is the ratification of two documents that define the basic principles of membership enlargement.

The documents set legal, administrative and financial criteria for adopting new members, and officially paved the way for aspirant countries to join the 13-year-old bloc.

Experts say that expansion is crucial to the SCO's future development and will help boost its influence and voice in the world arena.

Founded by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on June 15, 2001, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization.  Except for Uzbekistan, the other countries had been members of the Shanghai Five; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organization.

The Organization currently has six full members -- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Mongolia, Iran, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan are five observer states.  Pakistan, Iran, India and Mongolia acquired the observer status in the SCO in 2004-2005 and Afghanistan joined them in 2012.  Belarus, Sri Lanka and Turkey currently have the status of dialogue partners in the SCO.

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