What do you think of the SCO member states’ activities in the sphere of international cooperation? What is the organization’s role in maintaining regional security and stability?
In the last ten years, the SCO has become an influential, consolidated regional international organization. More and more countries are beginning to pay attention to the SCO. Based on the principle and spirit of openness, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has admitted Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran as observers and given the status of dialog partners to Belarus and Sri Lanka. Besides, the Resolution on admission of new members to the SCO, adopted at the organization’s summit in Tashkent in 2010, laid down a legal framework for the observers and dialog partners, creating a prospect for them to become full members.
Today, however, the terms of admitting new members to the organization are not fully developed and are not sufficient. As a young international structure, the SCO is facing numerous problems. Notably, it has to adjust to the changing geopolitical and economic situation in Central Asia and in the entire world. It needs to be clearly aware of any developments.
The SCO is paying close attention to cooperation with the international community. Its member states have done a lot to cooperate with the observers and dialog partners in the security, economy and humanitarian sphere.
At the SCO summit in Tashkent, China’s leader Hu Jintao said his country would support the organization’s efforts to expand cooperation with the observer countries, which will give them an opportunity, for example, to play a more active part in anti-terrorism and anti-drug efforts and also to cooperate in the energy sector, transportation and the humanitarian sphere. All this will eventually contribute to the region’s stability and development.
The SCO conducts an active dialog on the Afghanistan issue, as well as on security issues in Central and South Asia, via the existing mechanism of the SCO – Afghanistan contact group. Notably, the organization held an international conference on Afghanistan in Moscow in order to ensure regional stability and to resolve the Afghan issue. The event was attended by representatives of such international organizations as the United Nations, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the CIS, the EU and NA TO. All of the above proves that the SCO plays an important and constructive part in maintaining regional stability.
What can you say about the quality of trade and economic cooperation within the SCO?
In the past ten years, trade and economic cooperation within the SCO has risen to a fairly high level. This is proved by the vigorous growth of trade between China and other member states, and also by the number of trade operations and the progress of investment projects. According to statistics provided by Kazakhstan, its trade with China has reached $14.09 billion, making China one of its biggest trade partners. It is also necessary to mention the scale of commerce development ensured by the Chinese-Kazakh international center of border cooperation Khorgos. I believe it can serve as an example for other countries in terms of developing cooperation in Central Asia. Of course, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s state visit to Beijing last February also contributed to further promoting fast development of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.
The SCO member states have taken active efforts in jointly fighting the global economic crisis and have started implementing a plan of multilateral trade and economic cooperation within the SCO. The memorandum on cooperation in construction of the high-speed railway express Astana- Almaty, which was signed between China and Kazakhstan in February 2011, will further promote cooperation in the transport sector within the organization.
The SCO’s main goals are to maintain long-term stability in the region, to ensure the prosperity of its people and to improve their living standards. These goals force the SCO member states to develop mutually beneficial cooperation for the sake of sustainable economic development.
This year, Astana will host the SCO’s 10th anniversary summit. What is the role of Kazakhstan in establishing and developing the organization, in your opinion?
The SCO summit in Astana, which will sum up the results of the organization’s ten-year activities, has a special significance. In the past ten years, the SCO has achieved significant success thanks to cooperation in maintaining regional security, improving economic development mechanisms and humanitarian exchange. Its achievements provide a solid foundation for a promising outlook. The organization has witnessed numerous events that have seriously changed the region, it plays an important and indispensable part in maintaining stability and developing economic cooperation in the region.
As a SCO member state and an influential country in Central Asia, Kazakhstan plays an active part in the SCO’s development and in promotion of its ideas. We believe that the Astana summit, held at the historic moment of the organization’s tenth anniversary, will be vivid and successful. Personally, I expect the summit to sum up and comprehensively analyze the SCO’s history and to work out a worthy plan for the future.