Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
(SCO) is an intergovernmental mutual-security
organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Except for Uzbekistan, the other countries
had been members of the Shanghai Five
, founded in
1996; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members
renamed the organisation.
The official working languages
the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are Chinese
. The official names of the
organisation in the two languages, abbreviations in parentheses,
- Cyrillic: –®–į–Ĺ—Ö–į–Ļ—Ā–ļ–į—Ź
–ĺ—Ä–≥–į–Ĺ–ł–∑–į—Ü–ł—Ź —Ā–ĺ—ā—Ä—É–ī–Ĺ–ł—á–Ķ—Ā—ā–≤–į (–®–ě–°)
Shankhayskaya organizatsiya sotrudnichestva (ShOS)
The Shanghai Five grouping was originally created 26 April, 1996
with the signing of the Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in
heads of states of Kazakhstan, the People's Republic of China,
Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. 24 April, 1997 the same countries signed
the Treaty on Reduction of Military Forces in Border
Regions in a meeting in Moscow.
annual summits of the Shanghai Five group occurred in Almaty (Kazakhstan)
in 1998, in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan)
in 1999, and in Dushanbe (Tajikistan) in 2000.
the annual summit returned to Shanghai,
China. There the five member nations first admitted
Uzbekistan in the Shanghai Five mechanism (thus transforming
it into the Shanghai Six).
Then all six heads of state
signed on June 15, 2001, the Declaration of Shanghai
, praising the role played thus far by
the Shanghai Five mechanism and aiming to transform it to a higher
level of cooperation. In July 2001, Russia and the PRC, the
organisation's two leading nations, signed the
Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation
2002, the heads of the SCO member states met in Saint
There they signed the SCO Charter which expounded on
the organisation's purposes, principles, structures and form of
operation, and established it officially from the point of view of
The Council of Heads of State is the top decision-making body in
the SCO. This council meets at the SCO summits, which are held each
year in one of the member states' capital cities. The current
Council of Heads of State consists of:
The Council of Heads of Government is the second-highest council in
the organisation. This council also holds annual summits, at which
time members discuss issues of multilateral cooperation. The
council also approves the organisation's budget.
The council of Foreign Ministers also hold regular meetings, where
they discuss the current international situation and the SCO's
interaction with other international organisations.
As the name suggests, the Council of National Coordinators
coordinates the multilateral cooperation of member states within
the framework of the SCO's charter.
The Secretariat of the SCO is the primary executive body of the
organisation. It serves to implement organisational decisions and
decrees, drafts proposed documents (such as declarations and
agendas), function as a document depository for the organisation,
arranges specific activities within the SCO framework, and promotes
and disseminates information about the SCO. It is located in
Beijing. The current SCO Secretary-General is Bolat Nurgaliyev
Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is a permanent organ of the SCO which
serves to promote cooperation of member states against the three evils of terrorism, separatism
The Head of RATS is
elected to a three-year term. Each member state also sends a
permanent representative to RATS.
Cooperation on security
The SCO is primarily centred on its member nations' Central Asian
security-related concerns, often
describing the main threats it confronts as being terrorism
. However evidence is growing
that its activities in the area of social development of its member
states is increasing fast.
June 16-17 2004 SCO summit, held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the Regional Antiterrorism Structure (RATS) was
On 21 April 2006, the SCO announced plans to
fight cross-border drug crimes under the counter-terrorism
Grigory Logninov claimed in April 2006 that the SCO has no plans to
become a military bloc; nonetheless he argued that the increased
threats of "terrorism, extremism and separatism" make necessary a
full-scale involvement of armed forces.
There have been a number of SCO joint military exercises. The first
of these was held in 2003, with the first phase taking place in
Kazakhstan and the second in China.
larger scale, but outside the SCO framework, the first ever joint
military exercise between the PRC and Russia, called
Peace Mission 2005 started on
August 19, 2005.
Following their successful completion,
Russian officials have begun speaking of India joining such
exercises in the future and the SCO taking on a military
military exercises in 2007 (known as "Peace Mission 2007") took
place in Chelyabinsk Russia, near the Ural Mountains and close to Central Asia, as was agreed upon on
April 2006 at a meeting of SCO Defence Ministers.
4,000 soldiers participated from China. Air forces and
precision-guided weapons were have likely to be used. Russian
Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov
that the exercises will be transparent and open to media and the
In October 2007, the SCO signed an agreement with the Collective Security
(CSTO), in the Tajik capital Dushanbe, to
broaden cooperation on issues such as security, crime, and drug
trafficking. Joint action plans between the two organisations are
planned to be signed by early 2008 in Beijing.
All SCO members but China are also members of the Eurasian Economic Community
Framework Agreement to enhance economic cooperation was signed by
the SCO member states on 23 September 2003. At the same meeting the
, Wen Jiabao
, proposed a
long-term objective to establish a free
in the SCO, while other more immediate measures
would be taken to improve the flow of goods in the region. A follow
up plan with 100 specific actions was signed one year later, on
September 23, 2004.
October 2005, the Moscow Summit of
the SCO, the Secretary General of the Organisation said that the
SCO will prioritise joint energy projects; such will include the
oil and gas sector, the exploration of new hydrocarbon reserves,
and joint use of water resources.
The creation of an
Inter-bank SCO Council was also agreed upon at that summit in order
to fund future joint projects. The first meeting of the SCO
Interbank Association was held in Beijing on 21-22 February 2006.
November 2006, at The SCO: Results and Perspectives, an
international conference held in Almaty, the
representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that
Russia is developing plans for an SCO "Energy Club"..
need for this "club" was reiterated by Moscow at an SCO summit in
November 2007. Other SCO members, however, have not committed
themselves to the idea. However on 28 August 2008 summit it was
stated that "Against the backdrop of a slowdown in the growth of
world economy pursuing a responsible currency and financial policy,
control over the capital flowing, ensuring food and energy security
have been gaining special significance."
On 16 June, 2009, at the Yekaterinburg Summit, China announced
plans to provide a US$10 billion loan to SCO member states to shore
up the struggling economies of its members amid the global
financial crisis. The summit was held together with the first
BRIC summit, and the China-Russia joint
statement said that they want a bigger quota in the IMF.
Cultural cooperation also occurs in the SCO framework. Culture
ministers of the SCO met for the first time in Beijing
on 12 April 2002, signing a joint statement
for continued cooperation. The third meeting of the Culture Ministers
took place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on 27-28 April 2006.
Arts Festival and Exhibition was held for the first time during the
Astana Summit in
2005. Kazakhstan has also suggested an SCO
folk dance festival to take place in
2008, in Astana.
According to the Charter of the SCO, summits of the Council of
Heads of State shall be held annually at alternating venues. The
locations of these summits follow the alphabetical order of the
member state's name in Russian. The charter also dictates that the
Council of Heads of Government (that is, the Prime Ministers) shall
meet annually in a place previously decided upon by the council
members. The Council of Foreign Ministers is supposed to hold a
summit one month before the annual summit of Heads of State.
Extraordinary meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers can be
called by any two member states.
List of Summits
Future membership possibilities
Currently, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation does not have an
official mechanism for admitting new members. Several states,
however, participate as observers, some of whom have expressed
interest in becoming full members in the future.
Putin with representatives from Iran
and Mongolia, observers in the SCO, at a meeting of the Council of
Heads of Government in 2005.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai at an
SCO summit in 2004.
- currently has observer status in the SCO. SCO members have
encouraged India to join the organisation as a full-time member,
because they see it as a crucial future strategic partner.
Additional factors working in favour of India joining the SCO are
its major military presence in Central Asia, its close military
ties with several Central Asian countries (especially Tajikistan
and Russia) and also its deep interest in the region's energy
resources. Factors working against India's joining the SCO as a
member include India's persistent military rivalry with fellow
SCO-observer Pakistan and its general reluctance to make binding
ties to groups that could compromise its strategic independence.
India's status as a liberal democracy (Every other country in the
SCO is rated as "Not Free" by the international NGO Freedom House, whereas India is rated as
"Free") also puts it at odds with the members of the SCO.
- currently has observer status in the organisation, and applied
for full membership on 24 March 2008.
- became the first country to receive observer status at the 2004
Tashkent Summit. Pakistan, India and Iran received
observer status at the 2005 SCO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan
on 5 July 2005.
- currently has observer status in the SCO. In recent times,
Pakistan has tried to improve its relations with Russia.
Pakistan also quietly backed Russia in its war against Georgia
during the 2008 South Ossetia
war. Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf argued in favour of
Pakistan's qualification to join the organisation as a full member
during a joint summit with China in 2006. China said that it would
convey Pakistan‚Äôs desire to all SCO member states. In turn,
Musharraf was formally invited to the sixth summit of the SCO to
take place in Shanghai in June. The
Prime Minister of
Pakistan Yousaf Raza Gillani
once again argued in favour of Pakistan qualification to join the
organization as a full member.
Pakistan and Iran have been lobbying for full membership, while
India and Mongolia have not shown strong interest in becoming
official members. Russia's permanent representative in the SCO
Secretariat Grigory Longinov has claimed that the enlargement of
the SCO is impeded by "an immature mechanism of admission of new
members", while Secretary General Zhang
argued that an over-expansion might hinder the
intensification of the cooperation.
The position of Dialogue Partner was created in 2008 in accordance
with Article 14 of the SCO Charter of 7 June 2002. This article
regards Dialogue Partner as a state or an organisation who shares
the goals and principles of the SCO and wishes to establish
relations of equal mutually beneficial partnership with the
Lanka and were granted dialogue partner status in the
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at the group‚Äôs 2009 summit
Sri Lanka is located in an extremely strategically valued location
in the world. China is currently building a harbor in the Sri
Lankan town of Hambantota, widely seen as a naval base Chinese
ships re-fueling and protecting its naval interests. Sri Lanka
recently defeated the separatist LTTE with the cooperation of
Shanghai Cooperation Members China and Russia.
- , while not an observer, is currently part of the
SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group. The contact group was established in
November 2005, and serves as a mechanism for SCO member states to
jointly contribute to reconstruction and stability in
- applied for observer status in the organisation and was
promised Kazakhstan's support towards that goal. However, Russian
Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov voiced
doubt on the probability of Belarus' membership, saying that
Belarus was a purely European country. Despite this, Belarus was
accepted as a Dialogue Partner at the 2009 SCO Summit.
Relations with the West
Although the declaration on the
establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation contained a
statement that it "is not an alliance directed against other states
and regions and it adheres to the principle of openness", many
observers believe that one of the original purposes of the SCO was
to serve as a counterbalance to NATO and the
States and in particular to avoid conflicts that would
allow the United States to intervene in areas bordering both
Russia and China.
although not a member state, President of the Islamic
Republic of Iran Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad has used his speeches at the SCO to make verbal
attacks against the United States.
States applied for observer status in the SCO, but was
rejected in 2005.
At the Astana summit in July 2005, with the wars in Afghanistan and
Iraq foreshadowing an indefinite presence of U.S. forces in
Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, the SCO urged the U.S. to set a
timetable for withdrawing its troops from SCO member states.
afterwards, Uzbekistan asked the U.S. to leave the K-2 air
Recently the SCO has made no direct comments against the U.S. or
its military presence in the region. However, several
indirect statements at the past summits, including the 2007 summit
in Bishkek, have been
viewed as "thinly veiled swipes at Washington".
Articles and research
- Kalra, Prajakti and Saxena, Siddharth ‚ÄúShanghai Cooperation Organisation and Prospects of
Development in Eurasia Region‚ÄĚ Turkish Policy Quarterly, Vol 6.
- Sznajder, Ariel Pablo, ‚ÄúChina's
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Strategy‚ÄĚ University of
California Press, May 2006
- Oresman, Matthew, , National Defence University Press, August
- Gill, Bates and Oresman, Matthew, China‚Äôs New Journey to the West: Report on
China‚Äôs Emergence in Central Asia and Implications for U.S.
Interests, CSIS Press, August 2003
- Fels, Enrico (2009), Assessing Eurasia's Powerhouse.
An Inquiry into the Nature of the Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation, Winkler Verlag: Bochum. ISBN
- Yom, Sean L. (2002). "Power Politics in Central Asia: The Future of the
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation". Harvard Asia
Quarterly 6 (4) 48-54.
- Stakelbeck, Frederick W., Jr. (8 August 2005). "The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation".
- Navrozov, Lev. (17 February 2006). "The Sino-Russian 'Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation'" . NewsMax.com.
- Daly, John. (19 July 2001). "'Shanghai Five' expands to combat Islamic
radicals". Jane's Terrorism & Security
- Colson, Charles. (5 August 2003). "Central Asia: Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Makes
Military Debut". Radio Free Europe / Radio
- Cohen, Dr. Ariel. (18 July 2001). "The Russia-China Friendship and Cooperation
Treaty: A Strategic Shift in Eurasia?". The Heritage
- Cohen, Dr. Ariel. (24 October 2005). "Competition over Eurasia: Are the U.S. and Russia
on a Collision Course?". The Heritage Foundation.
- John Keefer Douglas, Matthew B. Nelson, and Kevin Schwartz; ,
United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission,
- Baris Adibelli. "The Eurasia Strategy of China," IQ Publishing House,
- Baris ADIBELLI, " The Great Game in Eurasian Geopolitics," IQ
Publishing House, ńįstanbul, 2008.
- Baris Adibelli, "Turkey-China Relations since the Ottoman
Period,"IQ Publishing House, ńįstanbul,2007.
- Baris Adibelli, The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Dream of
Turkey, Cumhuriyet Strateji,ńįstanbul, 2007.
- Baris ADIBELLI, "Greater Eurasia Project", IQ Publishing House,
- Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers from
Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Embassy
of the Russian Federation in Malaysia
- SCO Secretariat in Brief SCO Website
- Information on Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation SCO Website
- SCO to intensify fight against cross-border drug
- SCO gets ready for joint military exercise World
Student Press Agency
- SCO to stage joint anti-terror military exercise in
- SCO's anti-terrorism military drill to be
- Security alliances led by Russia, China link up
- Kazakhstan Notes Afghanistan's Emerging Security
Agenda Eurasia Daily Monitor
- Central Asian powers agree to pursue free-trade
- International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development
- Joint Communique of the Council of the Governmental
Heads (Prime Ministers) of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Member
States University of Hawaii
- Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Eyes Economic,
Security Cooperation The Jamestown Foundation
- SCO Ministers of Foreign Economic Activity and Trade to
meet in Tashkent National Bank of Uzbekistan
- Russia's Foreign Ministry develops concept of SCO energy
- Russia Urges Formation of Central Asian Energy
- Chronicle of Main Events of "Shanghai Five" and Shanghai
- Culture Ministers of SCO Member States Meet in
Beijing People's Daily
- SCO Culture Ministers to Meet in Tashkent
- Kazakhstan Backs Promotion of SCO Cultural Ties
Embassy of Kazakhstan in India
- Charter of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation SCO
- Joint Communiqu√© of Meeting of the Council of the Heads of
the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation SCO
- SCO Heads of Government Council meets in Beijing
- Moratorium on SCO expansion unlikely to be lifted
in near future - source Interfax Kazakhstan
- Shanghai Cooperation Organisation - Towards New
Dynamism - Mainstream Weekly
- EurasiaNet Eurasia Insight - India: The New Central
- Asia Times Online :: South Asia news - India makes
a soft landing in Tajikistan
- Iran applies for membership Press TV
- SCO Fails to Solve Its Expansion Dilemma Central
- SCO has immature mechanism of new members admission
- official UzReport
- Regulations on the Status of Dialogue Partner of the
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
- Sri Lanka gains partnership in SCO members welcome end to
terror in country
- SCO, Afghanistan need to deepen cooperation,
secretary general People's Daily
- The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation acquires military
- Fels, Enrico (2009), Assessing Eurasia's Powerhouse. An
Inquiry into the Nature of the Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation, Winkler Verlag: Bochum, p. 23-27.
- Ahmadinejad stresses need for a new world order
- Shanghai surprise Guardian Unlimited
- Central Asia: China and Russia up the ante The
- Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summiteers Take
Shots at US Presence in Central Asia Eurasianet