CHINA’S POLICY WITHIN THE SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANIZATION
Adil Kaukenov, Deputy director, Center for Chinese Studies at the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the First President of the RK Foundation (Almaty, Kazakhstan)
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as a new international institute has gained a firm foothold in the political life of Central Asian countries. Several large projects are currently being implemented under the SCO’s auspices that can bring far-reaching changes in the region, eventually altering the balance of forces on the Eurasian continent in favor of China. The SCO’s especially promising projects include a SCO free trade area, to be created by 2020, and a regional antiterrorism structure, the first of a kind in the Central Asian region. Furthermore, the SCO has started showing ambitions of a political player whose interests extend beyond the collective national interests of its member countries and have a pronounced geopolitical character.
The Organization is striving to encompass the key areas of activity in Central Asia, at the same time working to consolidate the member countries’ foreign policy efforts in dealing with common tasks (one example of such cooperation is the decision to bring the SCO into the peace process in Afghanistan). As of late, the Organization has been taking practical steps to become a system-forming factor, a paradigm of regional development ensuring conditions for the advancement of the Central Asian region—its security and effective interaction between its member states. There is good reason to suggest that without the SCO, these two factors in Central Asia’s development would be less…………..