MOSCOW, June 10 (Xinhua) — The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is still “young” but has remarkable achievements, according to a Russian expert.
On the eve of the SCO Astana Summit, Alexander Lukin, director of the Center for East Asia and Shanghai Cooperation Organization Studies at Moscow State University for International Relations, told Xinhua in a recent interview the organization had demonstrated its importance on both the regional and the world stages.
Lukin said the enlargement of the SCO had proved its vitality and attraction to many other countries.
The regional organization was founded in Shanghai in 2001 with five member states: China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and was joined by Uzbekistan later the same year.
It now also has four observer states and two dialogue partners.
Some observer states had applied for SCO membership and other countries were seeking ways to cooperate with the SCO, Lukin said.
He said another area of significant achievement was in the fight against terror.
“Defense and security issues, especially anti-terror cooperation, are always the SCO’s top priority. Since the SCO set up its anti-terrorism agency in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, it has done a lot of fruitful work, including holding regular joint drills, information exchanges and personnel training. The counter-terrorism cooperation has become the highlight of SCO activities,” he said.
Lukin said the SCO also had actively participated in the Afghanistan issue and anti-drug missions in recent years, in order to maintain regional stability and security.
Another area of progress was in trade and economic cooperation among SCO members, which had developed rapidly, he said. They had established an inter-bank consortium and worked out several joint projects.
However, the general level of economic cooperation was still low so far, he said. Therefore, the SCO members should improve the situation together and inject new impetus to development of the organization.
Lukin said China and Russia had played a vital role in ensuring sound development of the regional mechanism and helped maintain stability in Central Asia.
He said the prospects for the SCO were bright. The organization would surely achieve more in the following decade through advocating mutual trust, benefits, equality and respect for cultural diversity and common development among its member states.