SCO Meeting: More Strategic and Economic Initiatives Now Shaping World History

The annual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) began on Thursday in Dushambe, Tajikistan, where this important subsector of the new, extended world order launched by the BRICS meeting in July, will bring about yet more strategic and economic initiatives as part of the new world paradigm now shaping world history.

One development will be the creation of an SCO development bank, adding to the BRICS New Development Bank and China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which are now under construction. The form of the SCO bank is still under discussion. There are two views on how to do it: Russia proposes that it be an extension of the already existing Eurasian Bank of Development (EDB), founded by Russia and Kazakhstan in 2006, and now including Armenia, Tajikistan, Belarus, and the Kyrgyz Republic. China proposes that the SCO bank be a new institution. Ria Novosti reports today that China has agreed to be “integrated into the EBD”, according to Sergei Luzyanin, the director of the Center for Strategic Issues of Northeast Asia and the SCO. But Chen Yu Zhu, a Chinese Russian expert, is quoted in Ria Novosti saying that “The Development Bank of the SCO is for the internal SCO use, while the EBD is aimed at a more international use. That is why the two do not exclude each other.”

Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s aide, said on Wednesday that the agreements will include procedures for new members, but that formal membership for India and Pakistan will come next year. He said that Iran’s membership would be put off indefinitely, due to the UN sanctions which are still in effect.

Many Preliminary Meetings Leading Into the SCO Summit

While the formal SCO meeting began today, numerous preliminary meetings took place in the days leading up to the summit. Among them:

* Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin met for the fourth time this year. In their joint press conference, according to Xinhua, Xi noted the close cooperation in high-speed rail, satellite navigation, and large-scale cooperation projects, such as the joint development of long-range wide-body passenger jets and heavy-lift helicopters, as well as the energy deals. He said that the two countries should also boost financial cooperation, expand currency swaps, an d work together to build the BRICS development bank.

Putin, reports Xinhua, noted the important cooperation in oil and gas, nuclear energy, aviation, finance, and infrastructure construction. He noted the unstable global situation, close coordination on international and regional affairs. On the Ukraine crisis, Xi called on Ukraine to launch inclusive dialogues at an early date so as to reach a comprehensive political settlement of the crisis in the East European country. “China stands for resolving the Ukraine crisis through political means,” said Xi, stressing that relevant parties should “trace to the source” and solve the crisis at its root.

Xi Jinping, following the SCO Summit, will hold an official state visit with Tajikistan, the host of the summit. He will meet with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, Prime Minister Qohir Rasulzoda, and Lower House Speaker Shukurjon Zuhurov. According to Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping in Xinhua, the two leaders will sign a series of documents which will deepen strategic partnership and plan the development of bilateral relations for the next five years. Xi said in an article that the bilateral ties with Tajikistan are “at the best in history,” and that it is an important cooperative partner for China to open to the west.

* The heads of state of China, Russia and Mongolia held their first trilateral meeting Thursday. Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, and Mongolia’s Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj met, on Mongolia’s initiative, to strengthen cooperation in joint development, with Mongolia slated to become a development hub for the region.

* Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is attending the SCO meeting as an observer. He is holding bi-lateral meetings with: SCO Sec. Gen. Dmitry Fyodorovich Mezentsev, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, to discuss ways for improving relations among the three Farsi-speaking countries; Uzbek President Islam Karimov; Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj; and Russian President Putin.

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