16th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit Highlights Russian, Chinese Leadership
June 24, 2016 (EIRNS)—The 16th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which concluded today, included intense discussion among the members, and in many bilateral meetings, on the positive role the SCO can play going forward, both in terms of economic development and security coordination. President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping provided crucial input in all the discussions.
The SCO welcomed two new members, India and Pakistan, and Syria, Egypt and Israel are also interested in joining. This summit did not approve Iran’s membership, but that is expected to happen in the not-too-distant future.
As President Putin pointed out in his speech to the SCO’s Council of Heads of State expanded session, there are now 18 countries which take part in the SCO’s work: six founding members, six observer states, and six dialogue partners. Together, these account of more than 16% of global GDP, and 45% of the world’s population. "Among our most significant education projects," he pointed out, is the SCO University, which links 80 universities from participating countries into a single educational network.
Putin also stressed that "ensuring security throughout the SCO area" is a top priority, and that efforts must be made to develop the potential of a "regional anti-terrorist structure." It is crucial, he said, to accelerate work on drafting the SCO convention on combatting extremism.
He also proposed that talks start on linking the Eurasian Union and China’s Silk Road Economics Belt, a point that Xi Jinping made in his own speech. "I am sure," Putin said,
"that involving all of the SCO member states and the CIS countries in this integration process will pave the way for developing a broad Eurasian partnership."
New financial institutions, such as the BRICS New Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Eurasian Bank, will help ensure "successful implementation of multilateral economic projects within the SCO framework."
In his meeting with Putin, Xi pointed out that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the China-Russia good-neighborly treaty of friendship and cooperation and the 20th anniverary of the two countries’ strategic partnership of coordination. Thus, he said, Putin’s visit to Beijing, beginning tomorrow, is of special significance. China, he underscored, is willing to join hands with Russia to
"carry forward their friendship from generation to generation, consolidate political and strategic mutual trust, and strengthen support for each other."
China is ready to work together with Russia, Xi emphasized, to play a positive role in the SCO’s "steady and healthy development."