KTFA What Do You Know About The Shanghai Corporation Organization Led by Russia & China?


Samson:  The largest regional political alliance in the world.. What do you know about the Shanghai Cooperation Organization led by Russia and China?


5th July, 2022


As NATO seeks to expand and bring in new members, both Russia and China are trying to expand partnerships and bring in new members to huge Asian rival organizations to the West, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), to develop greater political understanding and economic interdependence between these faraway countries.


About the West, which creates incentives for cooperation in various fields, and what may constitute a major challenge to the interests of the United States of America and NATO in the East. What is the Shanghai Organization and its members, and what are its objectives?


What is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)?


The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a Eurasian international organization, founded in the form of a political, economic and military alliance, in the Chinese city of Shanghai on June 15, 2001 by 6 countries initially: the People’s Republic of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.


These countries, with the exception of Uzbekistan, were members of the “Shanghai Five-Year Group” founded on April 26, 1996 in Shanghai.


Subsequently, India and Pakistan joined the organization as full members on June 9, 2017, at the Astana Summit. While Iran became the ninth member, after the members agreed to amend its status in the organization from an “observer” member to a “full” member, during the summit held in the Tajik capital Dushanbe on September 17, 2021.


The observer countries of the organization include Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia, and the “dialogue partners” of the organization include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey, all of which are candidate countries to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.


Members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization constitute nearly half of the world’s population, and nearly three-fifths of the Eurasian land mass, making it the world’s largest regional political alliance. The Shanghai Organization in the West is often called the “Eastern Alliance”.


What are the goals of the Shanghai Organization?


The objectives of the organization revolve around promoting policies of mutual trust and good neighborliness among member states, combating terrorism and strengthening security, combating crime and drug trafficking, and confronting separatist movements and religious or ethnic extremism.


It also provides for cooperation in the political, commercial, economic, scientific, technical and cultural fields, as well as transportation, education, energy, tourism, environmental protection, and the provision of peace, security and stability in the region.


At the same time, many analysts believe that the Shanghai Organization is a new military alliance in the east to counter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).


What is the significance of the Shanghai Organization and what military activities is it engaged in?


The peoples of this organization constitute half of humanity, which makes it a huge fundamental entity that cannot be underestimated politically, economically or militarily in the global system, especially since most member states oppose American hegemony around the world, and have been secretly and publicly expressing their fears since.


The SCO mainly focuses on the security concerns related to “Central Asia” of its member states, and often describes the main threats it faces as “terrorism”, “separatism” and “extremism”. Over the past few years, the organization’s activities have expanded to include increased military cooperation, intelligence sharing, and counter-terrorism.


The organization says that it “conducts military exercises regularly among members to enhance cooperation and coordination against terrorism and other external threats, and to maintain regional peace and stability.”


There have been a number of SCO joint military exercises. The first was held in 2003, with the first stage taking place in Kazakhstan and the second in China. Since then, China and Russia have cooperated in large-scale war games in 2005, 2007 and 2009, sponsored by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.


More than 4,000 soldiers participated in the 2007 joint military exercise, known as the “Peace Mission”, which took place in Chelyabinsk, Russia, near the Ural Mountains. After the successful completion of these war games, Russian officials began to talk about India joining such exercises in the future, and that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is playing a military role.


In the 2010 Peace Mission exercises, which took place from 9 to 25 September of that year in the Matipulak region of Kazakhstan, attended by more than 5,000 personnel from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, joint planning and operations exercises were held.


What is the economic size of this block?


The size of the economies of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2020, amounted to about 19.58 trillion dollars, constituting about 23.1% of the total volume of the global economy, according to the World Bank, which is nearly a quarter of the world’s economy.


Since the organization’s establishment nearly 20 years ago, China has proposed a long-term goal of establishing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization free trade area, in addition to taking other immediate measures to improve the flow of goods in the region.


The organization established its Business Council on 14 June 2006 with the aim of expanding economic cooperation among member states, establishing direct relationships between financial communities, and facilitating practical promotion of multilateral economic projects. In addition to energy, transportation, telecommunications, lending, and the banking sector, the council focuses on SCO cooperation priorities such as education, research and innovative technology, as well as healthcare and agriculture.


In the same year, the organization also established what is known as the “Inter-Bank Consortium” of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO IBC) by the Council of Heads of Government, with the aim of providing financing and banking services for investment projects sponsored by the governments of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The SCO IBC is held in particular by consensus of all parties at least once a year.


Priority areas of cooperation within the SCO include: providing financing for projects focused on infrastructure, basic industries, high-tech industries, export-oriented sectors and social enterprises, issuing and providing loans based on generally accepted international banking practices, and organizing pre-export financing to stimulate trade and economic cooperation Among the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and other areas of common interest.


At the 2007 Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for the need to “change the global financial architecture,” saying: “We now clearly see the imbalance of monopoly in global finance and the policy of economic selfishness. To solve the current problem, Russia will participate in changing the global financial architecture so that it can ensuring stability and prosperity in the world and ensuring progress.


“The world has witnessed the emergence of a qualitatively different geopolitical situation, with the emergence of new centers of economic growth and political influence. We will witness and participate in the transformation of structures of global and regional security and development adapting to the new realities of the twenty-first century, when stability and prosperity have become inseparable concepts,” Putin added.


On the occasion of the Bishkek Summit in June 2019, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also made a statement to build a market for the local currency instead of the US dollar among the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In July 2022, Iran recommended the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to create a single currency, to facilitate trade exchange between member states.


How does the West view the Shanghai Organization?


The Shanghai Cooperation Organization has been conducting regular military exercises since 2002, and besides improving the strategic partnership between China and Russia, Iran’s presence, and these countries’ economic, military and nuclear capabilities, all of this is causing concern and fear in the West.


Some Western scholars described the Shanghai Organization as the “NATO of the East”, and classified it as an emerging military bloc that should be wary of, and as the largest anti-American bloc in the region, and its meeting together constitutes a challenge to the interests of the United States and its leadership roles in the East.


Although the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is not an exclusive military alliance, its member states participate in joint military and war exercises. With the accession of India, Pakistan and Iran, 4 members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization have significant nuclear capabilities, and this has certainly strengthened the new eastern bloc against NATO. But among all the member states, very few meet NATO’s requirements for military spending (2% of GDP), which puts a great deal of pressure on the few countries chosen to carry the torch during the conflict.


In addition, since member states have not pledged military support, they will be free to refuse to get involved in future military conflicts, Western experts and analysts say.


What are the challenges facing the Shanghai Organization?


But what the SCO lacks in terms of joint military capability, it may be able to make up for in economic opportunity. The markets of many SCO countries have not yet been fully exploited, and the union has enormous natural and human resources.


India and China are among the world’s fastest growing economies, and with greater economic cooperation, other SCO members may benefit from their growth as well.


One of the biggest challenges facing the SCO is finding a way to reconcile the divergent political interests of its member states. The SCO’s goal of increasing cultural and humanitarian exchanges may help overcome this obstacle. But NATO is not as united as many think either; Member states are not necessarily forced to participate in NATO operations, and may even choose to conduct their operations unilaterally.


And if we want to expand on a comparison between NATO and the Shanghai Organization, it seems that NATO focuses more on the world while the Shanghai Cooperation Organization seems more concerned with internal issues. Therefore, it may not be better to compare the two, as some Western analyzes say; The SCO as a body would not pose a direct threat to NATO, but independently, Russia and China might be able to act as powerful players in the conflict.


Despite the enormous size and economic influence of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, it cannot compete with NATO in the global political arena. This has nothing to do with the military and economic capabilities of both blocs, but more to do with the goals of these two organizations.


NATO was built to be an alliance against a common enemy, and in the absence of one, the Western political bloc could lose its cohesive strength. On the other hand, the SCO was established during peacetime, and has interests beyond military cooperation, including its various economic and cultural activities in the region.  LINK