Growing SCO cohesion and appeal of Shanghai Spirit highlighted amid Russian-Ukrainian conflict and confrontation of US-led blocs

Photo SCO: VCG

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict and the US attempt to divide the world and tear down the world order by encouraging bloc confrontation underscore the growing importance and appeal of the spirit of Shanghai, the core value of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which upholds mutual trust, benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development, Chinese analysts said Thursday as foreign ministers of SCO members gathered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to discuss international and regional issues and SCO cooperation, including projects under the Belt and Road Initiative. .

Not only are SCO member states ready to deepen cooperation, but more Eurasian countries recognize this spirit and are willing to join the organization, they said.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is attending the SCO Foreign Ministers Council meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from Thursday to Friday and will also visit Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, at the invitation of the three countries. ministers.

When meeting with Acting Foreign Minister Norov Vladimir Imamovich of Uzbekistan on Thursday, Wang said China firmly supports Uzbekistan in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and stability. society, and continued to follow the path of development and revitalization suited to its national conditions, and opposed any outside interference in the internal affairs of Uzbekistan.

The two countries pledge to speed up the feasibility study of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway, improve the capacity of the China-Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan railway and the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan expressway, and jointly safeguard the safe and stable operation of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway. Central Asia Gas Pipeline. The two countries will harness the potential of agricultural cooperation and build a China-Central Asia Agricultural Cooperation Center.

The two sides will develop joint vaccine production, and China supports Uzbekistan in building a regional vaccine production and research center.

The situation in Central Asia is facing new challenges due to internal and external factors. Regional countries share the hope of deepening cooperation with China, jointly pursue development and promote security, and look forward to more contributions and commitments from the SCO, Zhao Lijian said Tuesday. , spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Wang will attend other multilateral events and make comprehensive preparations for the SCO summit in Samarkand later this year along with other foreign ministers of SCO member states, Zhao said.

Chinese observers said SCO foreign ministers will focus on regional issues, including the Afghan issue and cooperation on economic recovery, as the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has deepened the global food and energy crisis.

The foreign ministers will also discuss the implementation of other BRI projects in SCO members, said Zhang Hong, an expert in Eastern European studies from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, on Thursday. social.

In the context of challenges to the world order and an increasingly complex international situation, it is obvious to observers that the rapid development of the SCO’s ability to safeguard regional security and stability, and its appeal to many neighboring countries are becoming increasingly prominent, Zhang said. .

After his trip to the founding states of the SCO, SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming said on July 15 that a strong impression from his trip is that SCO members have a strong desire to adhere to the spirit of Shanghai and deepen the solidarity of the SCO in the face of changes in international circumstances.

It is likely that further discussions on the inclusion of new member states will be discussed at the foreign ministers’ meeting to further promote the expansion and maturity of the SCO’s internal cooperation mechanism, said Zhang Hong. .

The SCO has received 11 applications to join the organization in one capacity or another or to improve the status of existing relations, Zhang Ming said on July 15.

We expect the SCO heads of state to adopt a memorandum of obligations for the Islamic Republic of Iran to receive SCO membership at the September meeting, the secretary general of the SCO said. the SCO.

The 2022 annual summit of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO would be held on September 15-16 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

As for the concrete format, Zhang Ming said whether online or offline, there are too many unknowns due to the pandemic to make a prediction.

In reporting the expansion of the SCO, some Western media claimed that it was because of the expansion of NATO, but observers pointed out that the essence of the SCO is not confrontation but regional cooperation, and when some SCO members maintain good cooperation with the West, it is malicious for some Western countries to smear the SCO as a geopolitical tool.

During the foreign ministers’ meeting, Indian media reported that Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar may have a bilateral meeting with Wang to discuss border issues.

Qian Feng, director of the research department of the National Institute of Strategy at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Thursday that China and India share similar positions on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, dealing with food crises and energy and stabilizing the region, and if the bilateral talks take place, Wang and Jaishankar could discuss cooperation to further boost the regional economy and security through the SCO platform as well as bilateral topics such as as an expression of the need to peacefully resolve border issues and advance the return of Indian students to China.

Ahead of Thursday and Friday’s meeting, Wang and Jaishankar met in person twice this year as bilateral relations showed momentum of recovery.

The two foreign ministers met on March 25 during Wang’s visit to India and July 7 on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting.

Meanwhile, China and India held the 16th commander-level talks on July 17, the third this year, which marked a generally positive atmosphere between the two neighbors.

Some media said the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting and the aftermath of the SCO summit could lead to ice-breaking between China and India, but Qian said it would take more time and effort. actions.

Keith P. Plain