Guests visit the 2021 Shanghai Cooperation Organization International Investment and Trade Expo in Qingdao on April 26. XINHUA
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). So what do you know about the SCO?
Artykbaev Beketai, a student from Kyrgyzstan who has lived in Beijing for more than five years, has lots to say.
Beketai is a member of the SCOLAR Network Youth Platform, which is affiliated with the SCO Secretariat. Scolar stands for Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Leaders with Aspiration and Respect. It brings together talents from 18 countries to strengthen connectivity, promote dialogue and create social impact through projects in three key fields: education, culture and entrepreneurship.
Beketai told China Report Press that the SCO has provided members of the SCOLAR network with a lot of help, such as chances for cultural exchanges, resources for academic research and business opportunities.
The youth platform is a project based on the SCO’s aspiration of cooperation and exchanges.
The SCO was established to ensure security while promoting common development among member states. Set up in 2001 by six founding members – China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – the SCO expanded to eight members, with India and Pakistan joining in 2017. Together with its four observer countries and six dialogue partners, the organization covers three-fifths of the Eurasian continent and nearly half of the world’s population. The core of the SCO is the Shanghai Spirit, featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity and the pursuit of common development.
Over the past 20 years, the SCO has made remarkable achievements, noted Xinhua.
The overall security and stability of the region have been maintained despite a complex regional situation. Facing issues like terrorism and the challenges of COVID-19 control and prevention, the SCO members have responded with unified actions. Meanwhile, the social and economic developments of various countries have been promoted. China’s trade volume with other SCO member states reached $245 billion (about 1.584 trillion yuan) in 2020, up from $12 billion in 2001, reported Xinhua.
People-to-people exchanges have also been largely promoted. Back in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of visits between China and other SCO members exceeded 7 million, 3.5 times as many as in 2001.
The 20-year mark is a new starting point, noted Xinhua. The organization is looking to work more closely to strengthen its cooperation among its member states.
On Sept 17, President Xi Jinping urged unity, common security and openness among the SCO members in order to create a closer community with a shared future at the 21st meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO.
“I am confident that the growing SCO family will stride ahead together with all the progressive forces of the world, and be the builders of world peace, contributors to global development and defenders of the international order,” said President Xi.