The “Shanghai Spirit”, as the soul of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, should be upheld as a code of conduct for SCO members to consolidate and raise the influence of the organization, a new report released by a Chinese think tank said.
The Shanghai Spirit has showed vitality and will continue to promote solidarity among member countries, said the report on 17 years of development of the SCO released recently by the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China together with two other institutes.
The Shanghai Spirit of “mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultations, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development” is the organization’s principle for internal affairs.
The organization might have to face more challenges in its development, but as long as the Shanghai Spirit is upheld, the member countries will be united in an efficient manner and the organization’s international influence will keep increasing, the report said.
In June 2017, India and Pakistan were accepted as full members of the SCO at the Astana summit in Kazakhstan. The membership expansion was evidence of broader prospects for the development of the SCO, the report said.
The report spoke highly of the achievements that the SCO has made since its establishment in 2001 and at the same time, highlighted the challenges it still had to face. These include slow progress in economic and trade partnerships, lack of an efficient mechanism for security cooperation and the need for better coordination in bilateral and multilateral cooperation within the organization.
The report called for the adjustment of working mechanisms of the organization as the enlargement will possibly make it more difficult to resolve the differences between the member countries and will also increase inefficiency in decision-making on major issues. The SCO adopts consensus-based decision-making on major issues within the organization.
Given the enlargement of the organization, member countries should make more efforts to enhance mutually-beneficial cooperation, expand common interests, build up mutual political trust, increase mutual understanding and support and avoid mutual suspicion and internal friction within the organization, the report said.
The report concluded that, against the backdrop of anti-globalization and protectionism, the SCO will help reduce the uncertainties of interaction among the member states, safeguard regional peace and stability and have a positive influence on neighboring areas.
“It is safe to say that the sustained development would see opportunities instead of challenges for member countries, and a boon instead of a threat for the international community,” the report said.
Steady development and expansion of the SCO would not have been possible without the Shanghai Spirit as the “soul”, said Yao Peisheng, former Chinese ambassador to countries including Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
The spirit shares similar elements embodied in the vision of a community of a shared future for mankind and the global governance principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, and will continue to deliver strong vitality, Li Yongquan, head of the China Society for Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian Studies, was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying.
The SCO accounts for over 60 percent of the Eurasian landmass, nearly half of the world’s population and over 20 percent of global GDP. Its founding members are China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Apart from the eight member states, the SCO also has four observer states and six dialogue partners.