Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Infobox Geopolitical organization
native_name = 上海合作组织 Шанхайская организация сотрудничества
name = Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
linking_name = the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
symbol_type = Logo
image_symbol = SCO logo.svg
symbol_width = 165px

map_caption =
legend|#008000|Member states legend|#3BC03B|Observer states legend|#7BC485|Taiwan Ref num|Taiwan|1|

membership = 6 member states 4 observer states
admin_center_type = Secretariat
admin_center = Beijing, China (PRC)
languages_type = Working languages
languages = Chinese, Russian
leader_title1 = Secretary General
leader_name1 = Bolat Nurgaliyev
leader_title2 = Deputy Secretary General
leader_name2 = Vladimir Zakharov
established = 15 June 2001
official_website = []
footnote1 = The People's Republic of China (PRC) claims, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation recognises, Taiwan as part of PRC's territory. However, the island is subject to the jurisdiction of the Republic of China (ROC). (Ref. Political status of Taiwan)
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an intergovernmental mutual-security organization which was founded in 2001 by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, 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 organization.

Official names

The official working languages of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are Chinese and Russian. The official names of the organisation in the two languages, abbreviations in parentheses, are:

* Simplified Chinese: 上海合作组织 [ Audio|Chinese-Shanghai Cooperation Organization.ogg |Listen ] (上合组织)
* Romanization: Shànghǎi Hézuò Zǔzhī (Shàng Hé Zǔzhī)
* Cyrillization: Шанхай Хэцзо Цзучжи (Шанхэ Цзучжи)

* Cyrillic: Шанхайская организация сотрудничества (ШОС)
* Romanization: Shankhayskaya organizatsiya sotrudnichestva (ShOS)


col1 =Members
col2 =Observers
col3 =Guest Attendances


The Shanghai Five grouping was originally created April 26, 1996 with the signing of the "Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions" in Shanghai by the heads of states of Kazakhstan, the People's Republic of China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. April 24, 1997 the same countries signed the "Treaty on Reduction of Military Forces in Border Regions" in a meeting in Moscow.

Subsequent annual summits of the Shanghai Five group occurred in Almaty (Kazakhstan) in 1998, in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) in 1999, and in Dushanbe (Tajikistan) in 2000.

In 2001, 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 Cooperation Organisation", 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-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation.

In June 2002, the heads of the SCO member states met in Saint Petersburg, Russia. 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 international law.


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:

* Kurmanbek Bakiyev (Kyrgyzstan)
* Hu Jintao (People's Republic of China)
* Islom Karimov (Uzbekistan)
* Nursultan Nazarbayev (Kazakhstan)
* Dmitry Medvedev (Russia)
* Emomalii Rahmon (Tajikistan)

The Council of Heads of Government is the second-highest council in the organization. This council also holds annual summits, at which time members discuss issues of multilateral cooperation. The council also approves the organization'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 organizations. [ [ Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers from Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization] Embassy of the Russian Federation in Malaysia]

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 organization. It serves to implement organizational decisions and decrees, drafts proposed documents (such as declarations and agendas), function as a document depository for the organization, 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 of Kazakhstan. [ [ SCO Secretariat in Brief] SCO Website]

The 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 and extremism. The Head of RATS is elected to a three-year term. Each member state also sends a permanent representative to RATS. [ [ Information on Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of Shanghai Cooperation Organization] SCO Website]


Cooperation on security

The SCO is primarily centered around its member nations' Central Asian security-related concerns, often describing the main threats it confronts as being terrorism, separatism and extremism. However evidence is growing that its activities in the area of social development of its member states is increasing fast.Fact|date=September 2008

At the June 16-17 2004 SCO summit, held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the Regional Antiterrorism Structure (RATS) was established. On 21 April 2006, the SCO announced plans to fight cross-border drug crimes under the counter-terrorism rubric. [ [ SCO to intensify fight against cross-border drug crimes]]

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. [ [ SCO gets ready for joint military exercise] World Student Press Agency]

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. [ SCO to stage joint anti-terror military exercise in 2007]]

On a 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 role.

The joint 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 Defense Ministers. More than 4,000 soldiers participated from China. Air forces and precision-guided weapons were have likely to be used. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said that the exercises will be transparent and open to media and the public. [ [ SCO's anti-terrorism military drill to be transparent]]

In October 2007, the SCO signed an agreement with the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), in the Tajik capital Dushanbe, to broaden cooperation on issues such as security, crime, and drug trafficking. [ [ Security alliances led by Russia, China link up] Daily Times] Joint action plans between the two organizations are planned to be signed by early 2008 in Beijing. [ [ Kazakhstan Notes Afghanistan's Emerging Security Agenda] Eurasia Daily Monitor]

Economic cooperation

A Framework Agreement to enhance economic cooperation was signed by the SCO member states on 23 September 2003. At the same meeting the PRC's Premier, Wen Jiabao, proposed a long-term objective to establish a free trade area 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. [cite web |url= |title= China Intensifies Regional Trade Talks |archiveurl= |archivedate=2007-10-24 International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)] [ [ Joint Communique of the Council of the Governmental Heads (Prime Ministers) of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States] University of Hawaii]

On 26 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. [ [ Shanghai Cooperation Organization Eyes Economic, Security Cooperation] The Jamestown Foundation] [ [ SCO Ministers of Foreign Economic Activity and Trade to meet in Tashkent] National Bank of Uzbekistan] On 30 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". [ [ Russia's Foreign Ministry develops concept of SCO energy club]] . The 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. [ [ Russia Urges Formation of Central Asian Energy Club] Eurasianet]

Cultural cooperation

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. [ [ Culture Ministers of SCO Member States Meet in Beijing] People's Daily] [ [ SCO Culture Ministers to Meet in Tashkent]]

An SCO 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. [ [ Kazakhstan Backs Promotion of SCO Cultural Ties] Embassy of Kazakhstan in India]


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. [ Charter of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation] SCO Website] 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 Organization does not have an official mechanism for admitting new members. [ [ Moratorium on SCO expansion unlikely to be lifted in near future - source] Interfax Kazakhstan] Several states, however, participate as observers, some of whom have expressed interest in becoming full members in the future.

Current observers

*IND currently has observer status in the SCO. Members of the SCO have encouraged India to join the organization as a full-time member. With the world's third largest standing army, fourth largest (PPP) and second fastest growing major economy, and an increasing political and economic clout, India is seen by SCO members as a crucial future strategic partner. [ [ Shanghai Cooperation Organisation - Towards New Dynamism - Mainstream Weekly ] ] Additional factors working in favor of India joining the SCO are its major military presence in Central Asia, [ [ EurasiaNet Eurasia Insight - India: The New Central Asian Player ] ] [ [ Asia Times Online :: South Asia news - India makes a soft landing in Tajikistan ] ] 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, its nascent strategic tilt towards the United States and its general reluctance to make binding ties to groups that could compromise its strategic independence.

*IRN currently has observer status in the organisation, and applied for full membership on March 24, 2008. [ Iran applies for membership] Press TV]

*MNG 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 July 5, 2005.

*PAK currently has observer status in the SCO. 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’s 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. Sino-Pak relations go back decades when Pakistan helped China enter the United Nations and China helped Pakistan get a veto aganist the Kashmir issue later on. China is Pakistan's biggest arms and technology supplier and the third biggest trading partner as well as the basis for Western China's economic growth as it would need the Ports of Pakistan. The linkages between China and Pakistan are also strengthed through the almost unhindered economic trade between the Northern Areas of Pakistan with the muslim majority, semi-autonomous, Xinjiang Province of China, throug the Karakorum Highway.

Pakistan and Iran have been lobbying for full membership, while India and Mongolia have not shown strong interest in becoming official members. [ SCO Fails to Solve Its Expansion Dilemma] Central Asia-Caucasus Institute] 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 Deguang argued that an over-expansion might hinder the intensification of the cooperation. [ [ SCO has immature mechanism of new members admission - official] UzReport]

Other countries

*AFG, 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 Afghanistan. [ [ SCO, Afghanistan need to deepen cooperation, secretary general] People's Daily]

*BLR has applied for observer status in the organisation and has been promised Kazakhstan's support towards that goal.Fact|date=April 2008 However, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov voiced doubt on the probability of Belarus' membership, saying that Belarus was a purely European country. [ The Shanghai Cooperation Organization acquires military character] Kommersant]

Power balance in a "multi-polar world"

SCO countries (full members and observers) comprise a hefty 25% of Earth's land area. 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 United States and in particular to avoid conflicts that would allow the United States to intervene in areas near both Russia and China. [cite news|last=Tannock|first=Charles|title=Backing Kazakhstan's 'great game'|publisher=Guardian Weekly|date=February 18, 2008|url=]

The United States applied for observer status in the SCO, but was rejected in 2005. [ [ Shanghai surprise] Guardian Unlimited]

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. Shortly afterwards, Uzbekistan asked the U.S. to leave the K-2 air base. [ [ Central Asia: China and Russia up the ante] The Hindu]

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". [ [ Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summiteers Take Shots at US Presence in Central Asia] Eurasianet]

ee also

* Sino-Russian relations

External links

* [ Official website]
* Official Chinese pages on the SCO from the [ Ministry of Foreign Affairs] and [ Xinhua News]

* [ The China and Eurasia Forum] , an independent research institution.
* [ China and Eurasia Quarterly] , academic journal covering China-Central Asia relations and the SCO.

* [ "Iran urges Central Asian bloc to counter West"]
* [ "Iran offers Shanghai bloc energy ties"]
* [ Declaration on the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization]

Articles and research
* Sznajder, Ariel Pablo, [ “China's Shanghai Cooperation Organization Strategy”] University of California Press, May 2006
* Oresman, Matthew, PDFlink| [ “Beyond the Battle of Talas: China’s Re-emergence in Central Asia”] |4.74 MiB , National Defense University Press, August 2004
* Gill, Bates and Oresman, [,com_csis_pubs/task,view/id,15/ Matthew, China’s New Journey to the West: Report on China’s Emergence in Central Asia and Implications for U.S. Interests] , CSIS Press, August 2003
* Yom, Sean L. (2002). [ "Power Politics in Central Asia: The Future of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization"] . "Harvard Asia Quarterly" 6 (4) 48-54.
* Stakelbeck, Frederick W., Jr. (8 August 2005). [ "The Shanghai Cooperation Organization"] . "".
* Navrozov, Lev. (17 February 2006). [ "The Sino-Russian 'Shanghai Cooperation Organization'"] Dead link|date=August 2008. "".
* Daly, John. (19 July 2001). [ "'Shanghai Five' expands to combat Islamic radicals"] . "Jane's Terrorism & Security Monitor".
* Colson, Charles. (5 August 2003). [ "Central Asia: Shanghai Cooperation Organization Makes Military Debut"] . "Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty".
* Cohen, Dr. Ariel. (18 July 2001). [ "The Russia-China Friendship and Cooperation Treaty: A Strategic Shift in Eurasia?"] . "The Heritage Foundation".
* 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; PDFlink| [ “Fueling the Dragon’s Flame: How China’s Energy Demands Affect its Relationships in the Middle East.” ] |162 KiB , United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, October 2006.
* Baris Adibelli. [ "The Eurasia Strategy of China,"] IQ Publishing House, İstanbul,2007


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