The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is a Eurasian political, economic, and security organisation, that has as leaders China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan
The SCO, often dubbed as the “alliance of Asia”, brings together the eight main powers of Asia to discuss topics like cooperation on security, military activities, economic cooperation and cultural cooperation.
In this 18th meeting, which will be held in the coastal Chinese city of Qingdao, the previous six official member states will be joined for the first time by India and Pakistan, which were inducted into the organisation at last year’s summit in Astana.
At the meeting they will also participate heads of state from six further “dialogue partners” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey)
Since it involves the majority of nations involved at the summit, and given that China is the largest economic power on the membership panel, Beijing’s voice is expected to drive discussions, with President Xi’s signature Belt and Road Initiative.
For example, according to the minister for investment and development of Kazakhstan, the country is currently involved with over 50 large-scale bilateral projects with Chinese companies totalling some $27 billion. Much of this capital is going towards extraction of energy.
Nevertheless, the SCO is having a particular interest from worldwide media even for the relations between Moscow and Beijing. Currently, in fact, China offers welcome relief to a country suffocated by strict Western sanctions.
China is now Russia’s top foreign trade partner accounting for 15% of Russia’s current account balance sheet
Both Russia and China are very interested in completing the Belt and Road initiative. Just think at the “Power of Siberia” natural gas pipeline due for completion in 2019.
The Chinese ambassador to Russia, Li Hui, said that the two regional powers can look forward to stronger trade prospects in agriculture, investment and finance, “relying on the cooperation of ‘Belt and Road’ with the Eurasian Economic Union.”
Xinhua quoted one source as describing the Russia-China energy partnership as “a model to expand to other SCO members”. Probably now that India has joined the SCO summit, it could take a closer relationship with China.
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