While initially set up to “counter terrorism”, the organisation is rapidly developing into a political, military and economic bloc.
From the Communist Party of China website
President Hu Jintao will begin a three-nation tour to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia August 14-18, to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit (SCO) and observe the SCO joint anti-terrorism military drill in Russia, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.
The seventh SCO summit will be held in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan on August 16. Heads of states of the six members and four observers are expected to participate in the conference.
Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry said the treaty on long-term friendship and cooperation among SCO members – Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – is a key document to be signed during the summit.
Since China has signed similar bilateral treaty with all the member countries, a treaty signed by all the member states will further strengthen the understanding and trust among the six nations, Chen Yurong, an expert with China Institute of International Studies, told China Daily
The fact that China has been actively involved in SCO also reflects one of its most important foreign policies – maintaining friendly relations with neighboring countries, Chen said.
“If you don’t have good neighbors, you don’t have a secure home. That is why China and other member states insist that SCO’s principles should be partnership, equality, non-alliance and openness.”
Issues such as facilitating cultural exchanges among the SCO member states will also be discussed at the upcoming summit, the Culture and Information Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sultan Rayev told the KABAR news agency recently.
The discussion “will bring closer together the SCO members through culture and art,” Rayev said.
The SCO was founded in 2001 in Shanghai and is guided by the principles of partnership, non-alliance, mutual trust, respect and equality to the diversity of cultures.