INTERNAL CONTRADICTIONS OF THE SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANIZATION
Adil Kaukenov, Senior Analyst, Agency for the Study of Investment Profitability (Astana, the Republic of Kazakhstan)
In recent years, China has perceptibly strengthened its position in Central Asia largely due to the multisided cooperation format embodied by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). From Beijing’s perspective, it is not only a key organization, but essentially a regional integration project. Moreover, Central Asia’s development is closely tied to the development of Xinjiang, in which the Chinese leadership is making large investments in order to eliminate the separatist moods in this unsettled region. Nevertheless, the SCO has substantial systemic contradictions that the new CPR leadership headed by Xi Jinping is trying to overcome.
The West initially had a passive attitude toward the SCO. At that time, the North Atlantic Alliance regarded the Shanghai Five as a structure that did not pose a threat to the West’s interests; on the contrary, it showed a decrease in Moscow’s previously dominating role in Central Asia due to the appearance of a new player—China. Later, however, as China’s cooperation with the region’s countries, primarily with Kazakhstan in the oil sector, started to mount, Washington began having a different opinion.
The SCO’s prospects for the Central Asian countries are determined by this organization’s capability to maintain the balance of power in the region. Moreover, the region’s countries are interested in acquiring additional investments and capital (Chinese) through the organization’s channels. An analysis of the main areas of development of this structure based on the interests of the Central Asian countries is required for a more precise definition of the SCO’s prospects for the region’s countries.
Keywords: the SCO, China, Russia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, the U.S., NATO, geopolitics, Peace Mission, free trade area.
During the twelve years of its existence, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has occupied a strong position in the political life of the Central Asian countries. But disputes over what this organization is—a political discussion club or a future integration union—are still going on today.
These dualistic assessments about the present and the future of the SCO are based on……………