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SCO's growing appeal exemplifies new type of spirited multilateral ties

By Li Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2024-07-08 07:36

In summarizing President Xi Jinping's trip to Central Asia last week, including attendance at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the Kazakh capital of Astana, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the visit has amplified the Shanghai Spirit, deepened traditional friendships and opened a new vision for building a community with a shared future.

The SCO was not formed to, nor does it now, threaten the "US-led democratic order" as some Western media outlets' reports on the Astana gathering suggested. While the organization's growing size has expanded its geographical scope, and its remit has become more ambitious than countering terrorism, extremism and separatism, it remains a development partnership mechanism.

Although covering international news naturally becomes much easier through seeing the world as black or white, that tends to oversimplify the otherwise complicated and fast-changing situations of global affairs. That some allies of the United States, including India, Turkiye, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, participated in the SCO summit as an SCO member and dialogue partners respectively, belies the threat-to-the-West rhetoric.

Unlike the NATO summit to be held in Washington, which, as the same group of Western media report, will uphold "Western values", the SCO summit upholds the Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations and pursuit of common development.

It is absurd that these same Western media outlets mocked the UN chief's presence at the SCO summit as a move "to position the UN as an inclusive organization that's talking to all the big clubs" as if he should have naturally boycotted the Astana gathering to give legitimacy to the exclusiveness of the US club.

It is notable that some bilateral and multilateral meetings between leaders were held on the sidelines of the SCO summit producing many positive results that might advance the solutions to some regional and global hotspot issues. Those claiming that the SCO summit is merely a "talk shop" rather than "a platform where collective decisions are made, implemented and have an impact" should be reminded that were it not for the SCO's deepening of pragmatic cooperation, Central Asia would not have enjoyed peace and stability over the past 23 years. They should bear in mind that over the past 23 years, the democracy experiment of the US in Afghanistan has been an abject failure. It is also the practical security cooperation of the SCO members that has prevented Central Asia from becoming another Middle East.

Since it was founded in 2001, the SCO has become a vital demonstration of a new type of international relations. Instead of clinging to a zero-sum mentality of damaging division, the SCO upholds the Shanghai Spirit as the means for common security, stability and development.


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