India, Pakistan bring more opportunities to bloc
This weekend’s 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Qingdao will open a new page for the bloc in shaping a new type of international order, Chinese analysts said Friday.
Leaders of SCO member states and observer states, as well as heads of international organizations, will attend the annual event to be held Saturday and Sunday in the East China coastal city.
“The summit this year will open a new page for the bloc,” Deng Hao, secretary general of the China Center for SCO Studies, told the Global Times on Friday.
“After 17 years of internal building, the bloc now has a sound working mechanism on cooperation at different levels and in different sectors,” Deng said. “It’s standing at a brand new starting point.”
This is the fourth time the summit has been held in China, a founding member and the cradle of the bloc.
The bloc will set a model for building a new type of international relations that features “no-alliance, no-conflict, and no moves against any third country,” which is totally different from the traditional Western order that features a zero-sum mentality, Deng said.
After China enters a new era of development, the country will contribute more wisdom and solutions for the bloc to build a wider consensus in security, economy and people-to-people exchanges in a world full of uncertainties and challenges, Deng said.
Chinese analysts said the focus of the 2018 summit in Qingdao will be on security issues, and development and cooperation of the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative.
Since the establishment of the bloc, SCO member states have jointly held security drills, and prevented and busted hundreds of criminal cases, capturing guns and explosives, Liao Jinrong, director-general of the International Cooperation Department at China’s Ministry of Public Security, said at a press conference in Qingdao on Friday.
Security cooperation will be further enhanced in the future, as regional security still faces severe challenges from terrorism, drugs, organized cross-border crimes and information security threats, Liao said.
The 2018 summit is the first after a membership expansion.
India and Pakistan were accepted as full members of the SCO in 2017 during a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The organization was established in 2001 by six founding members.
“China is full of confidence for the future of SCO after the expansion,” Liao said.
The inclusion of India and Pakistan as SCO full members brings more cooperation opportunities to the bloc.
Seventeen years after its establishment, the SCO has evolved from a security cooperation platform into an organization for comprehensive cooperation, including economic cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.
Russia, India and Kazakhstan are the most popular SCO countries for Chinese tourists, Xue Yaping, an official with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said at a separate press conference in Qingdao on Friday.
More than 800,000 Indians visited China in 2017 and about 200,000 Chinese tourists visited India, Xue said.
Gao Fei, a professor with the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Friday that as a multilateral platform, the bloc includes members with different demands.
“The countries are also diverse in political system, ideology, legal and social mechanisms, as well as culture, which means disagreement could occur from time to time,” Gao said.
What makes SCO special is “Shanghai Spirit,” which highlights joint development and respect for diversity, could bring the countries to focus on common interest and manage difference in a practical way, Gao said.
By Li Ruohan in Qingdao