SCO thrives in face of common challenges
|The driving force behind the birth and development of the young Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is the need to meet common challenges faced by the member countries after the end of the Cold War. |
Five years ago, in this Chinese city, the heads of state from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan proclaimed the establishment of the new regional group which would grow rapidly and have its impact quickly felt on international arena.
The post-Cold War world is mainly characterized by extensive regional cooperation among countries that intends to seize the historic opportunities to develop themselves and raise people's standards of living in a rapidly-changing international and regional situation.
Countries in and around Central Asia are no exception to the trend of economic globalization and political multipolarization.
In the meantime, terrorism, separatism and extremism are on the rise in the region, posing an increasingly dangerous threats to regional peace and stability.
Against this background, the SCO was set up on June 15, 2001 in Shanghai on the basis of the "Shanghai Five" -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
With a solid legal foundation having been laid, mechanisms of dialogue at different levels put in place and permanent organizational structure built, tremendous ground has been scaled in the past five years thanks to close cooperation and concerted joint efforts by the SCO member countries.
Border disputes left over by history between China and other SCO member countries have been finally put to an end, creating favorable conditions for close cooperation.
A regional anti-terror agency known as the Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) was set up in 2004 in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, to coordinate the combat against "the three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism.
Since then, a number of anti-terror exercises have been held in SCO member states and a similar one is going to be staged in Russia in 2007.
Vyacheslav Kasimov, director of the RATS executive committee, said that the heads of state, who are gathering here for Thursday's 2006 SCO summit, are expected to sign a compendium on fighting the "three evil forces" during the 2007-2009 period.
The scope of cooperation among the SCO members have also expanded rapidly from security to economy, technology, transportation, energy, culture and education despite the two wars the United States fought in Afghanistan and Iraq following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on it.
The recent "color revolution," which affected some SCO member countries in Central Asia, also caused no adverse affects on the foundation of the regional group.
A basic reason for the SCO's vitality is that its tenet and principles conform to the fundamental interests of all member countries, who have the common goals of developing good-neighborly and friendly relations, strengthening cooperation in various fields, fighting "the three evil forces" and promoting the establishment of a just, fair and democratic world order.
A new mode of nation-to-nation relations, which is different from confrontational alliance between the powers in the Cold War era, has been formed as the SCO members deepen cooperation in line with "the Shanghai Spirit," which calls for mutual trust and common security, partnership and non-alignment, openness and transparency, equality and consensus, mutual benefit and not targeting at any third country or regional groups.
Mongolia Pakistan, Iran and India have been accepted as SCO observers and Afghanistan has also built contact with the regional body, which has forged relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Commonwealth of Independent States and some UN agencies.
"The SCO has set a model for equal partnership in Eurasia. The strategic aim of such a partnership is to enhance regional security and stability, promote economic progress and push forward the process of regional integration while maintaining the national and cultural identities of each member," Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote ahead of the 2006 SCO summit.
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