Eleven years ago, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) beganwith just six members. This year, more than a dozen leaders fromacross Eurasia came to attend the SCO Summit in Beijing. From June 6-7, the leaders discussed the future development of theSCO and reached consensus on the organization's economic andcultural exchanges and security cooperation. Historic summit This year is the first year of the SCO's second decade. |
During thepast 11 years the SCO has played a significant role in maintainingpeace and stability, while fostering bilateral and multilateralcooperation in the region. Shi Ze, a senior research fellow with the China Institute ofInternational Studies, stressed that this year's summit shouldereda mission of "carrying forward the tradition and forging ahead intothe future." The leaders made a mid-term strategic plan for theSCO's development. "They evaluated the international situation in the coming years,and designed the SCO's missions," said Shi. He said during the pastyears, the SCO's mission was to perfect its mechanism, and in thenext 10 years its mission will be to push forward practicalcooperation. Being an influential governmental organization, the SCO has workedwell on enhancing bilateral and multilateral high-level exchanges.The summit became an important occasion for SCO leaders to exchangeviews on regional and global issues.
During this year's summit,many leaders paid state visits to China. For example, RussianPresident Vladimir Putin made his first state visit to China duringhis third presidential term. Also, Pakistani President Asif AliZardari made his ninth state visit to China. In the field of security cooperation, the SCO has established anagency to coordinate its efforts to maintain regional peace andsecurity. The Executive Committee of the SCO RegionalCounterterrorism Structure (RCTS), the permanent body of the RCTS,is based in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan.
SCO member states alsohold joint antiterror military rehearsals regularly. The PeaceMission 2012 drill will be staged in Tajikistan in mid-June. People-to-people exchanges are also burgeoning. For example, over50 colleges and universities of SCO members have jointlyparticipated in an online university project, which contains fivesubjects. Many young people are benefiting from this onlineuniversity.
The summit was a milestone of the SCO's development, said AlexanderLukin, Director of the Center for East Asian and SCO Studies at theMoscow State Institute of International Relations. He pointed outthat this year's summit was of special significance because theleaders adopted a development plan for the SCO. Lukin said althoughthe SCO is a young organization, it has a good reputation and gooddevelopment progress compared to older organizations. "Now the SCO is standing at its turning point and SCO leaders mustfigure out a practical development plan," Lukin said. He said theglobal situation is changing and other regional and internationalorganizations are also moving forward.
"Frankly speaking, disputesexist between SCO members. Participating in the same organizationwill help to solve conflicts between these nations," he added.
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