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Shanghai Cooperation Organization is gaining clout
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More importantly, what binds members together is a spirit of mutual benefit, trust, respect, development, equality and negotiation. This spirit helps clear the way for a bright future because it represents the fundamental interests and needs of people in the region. It blazes a trail in adopting a new outlook on security, a new pattern of regional cooperation and new kinds of international relationships. It also provides a better perspective on how to build a peaceful, prosperous and harmonious world.

The members of the SCO adhere to the following principles: mutual respect for independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; non-interference in internal affairs; non-use of force, or threat of its use, in international relations; the search for settlements based on the principles of equality for the benefit of all member states; respect for the rights of members to choose their own path of development in politics, economy, society and culture; equality and sincerity of member states on the basis of democracy; and attempts to make decisions through consultation.

Maintenance of stability is essential to the group. To create a stable environment for member states, the SCO has initiated a new security focus, based on mutual trust and cooperation. Members have made a sustained effort to improve relative legal foundations and develop different forms of collaboration.

A willingness to learn from each other spurs development in member states. Almost half the world’s population, which includes more than 300 ethnic groups, lives in SCO and observer countries. There are also three major religions within the covered areas, so respect for diversity is the logical path for the SCO. The SCO vigorously supports programs that promote culture and tradition, as member states see great potential in these opportunities to collaborate. Nations with different cultures and traditions can achieve peaceful coexistence and common development through mutual respect and trust.

Development through cooperation is the key to the Shanghai Spirit. All member states seek mutual development. To promote economic integration among countries, the SCO has initiated a new pattern of regional economic collaboration. It is characterized by multi-side participation and a combination of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Working together has brought member states closer, to their mutual benefit.

Openness and transparency can guarantee the common development of member states. The SCO adheres to the principles of peace, openness and collaboration, and does not wish to be viewed as a threat to outside countries or groups. It takes an active role in encouraging cooperation with any country or international organization that believes in its goals and wishes to develop a relationship with the SCO. The SCO does not seek regional hegemony or monopoly, although neighboring military blocs have enlarged and strengthened alliances. The SCO will contribute to any program as long as it is favorable to the region’s security, stability, development and prosperity.

The principles of the SCO are in line with China’s foreign policies, and China’s foreign policies are in line with the SCO. As a member state, as well as a founding country, China will promote the development of the SCO and the prosperity of its members.

President Hu Jintao called for lasting peace and common prosperity at the June 2006 SCO summit. He also called for a long-term treaty of goodwill, friendship and cooperation. At the August 2007 SCO summit in Bishkek, as other member states paid close attention, Hu also advocated for warm relations, common development, openness and a willingness to learn from each other.

The Chinese government has increased its support for SCO programs over the last seven years, helping with things such as credit assistance. China’s training of professionals from other member states is also highly valued.

Today, the world is undergoing great changes. Hegemony and power politics still exist, the elements of traditional and non-traditional threats to security are intertwined, and the inequality of the global economy has worsened. It is more difficult for the SCO to maintain regional security, promote economic development and safeguard the common interests of member states. We commemorate the seventh anniversary of the SCO by looking back at what we have learned, making plans for the future and promoting the sustained and healthy development of the organization. We believe that if we cultivate the Shanghai Spirit of friendship and cooperation, we can achieve lasting peace and common prosperity.

(China.org.cn translated by He Shan and Yang Xi, June 18, 2008)

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