Monday, August 13, 2007

Shanghai Cooperation Organization

On June 15, 2001 the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was created out of the Shanghai Five in existence since 1996-1997. Originally composed of Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, it was joined by Uzbekistan at the 2001 Summit. The Shanghai Convention was signed and SCO became one of the most prominent regional organizations in the world. First focused on border issues and military security, after the 9/11 it directed its efforts on combatting terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking. It was at this time when Putin was offering Russia's help to the US in the 'war on terror.' The organization has developed to include on its agenda also trade and economic matters, since China has been the center of the growing Asian economy. For obvious reasons, Russia and the four Central Asian independent republics want to develop strong economic ties with China. Yet, many politicians in the West have viewed the creation of the SCO with alarm. The SCO resembled an exclusive club of only a few chosen. Plus, it could in the future challenge the US domination in the world and its leadership in the war on terror. This is from the skeptics. But any regional attempts at securing peace and cooperation must be greeted with positive energy. After all, international cooperation begins from a regional one.

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