China shifted the emphasis of its economic strategy in Eurasia

China shifted the emphasis of its economic strategy in Eurasia

By Arthur Dunn

 

As the development of the SCO has become increasingly engaged in trade and economic and transport-logistical cooperation. Against the backdrop of the policy of "America first" and a number of failures of European integration, the SCO plays a more prominent role in counteracting protectionism. Its members managed to reach an agreement on the creation of favorable conditions for international road transport. This is 15 thousand km of high-speed roads for unimpeded movement of transport and transportation of goods. There are already six green corridors, and a similar agreement is expected to be made by rail.

However, the very impressive potential of business cooperation is far from being realized. Suffice it to say that 11% of the total volume of foreign direct investment in 2016 fell on the share of the SCO member states. Almost 600 thousand new enterprises were registered in the SCO space during this period. And this is without taking into account the statistical data on China, which are expected in the near future.
By the way, it was China that tried to strengthen the economic dimension of the SCO activities, up to the formation of a free trade zone. However, the rest of the members seem to be concerned about the possible economic expansion of Beijing and the prospect of becoming an economic appendage of the Celestial Empire. In particular, Russia had fears that the intensification of cooperation with a focus on the free trade area would allow the SCO to replace the Eurasian Economic Union (EAE) as the main instrument of Eurasian integration and deprive it of a central role in this process.

As a result, China shifted the emphasis of its economic strategy in Eurasia to the SCO on the «One-Belt-One Way» (OBOW) project. And now we are talking about the use of the SCO's possibilities for linking the EEMP and the project of OBOW, which is considered the brainchild of President Xi Jinping. So it's no coincidence that the city-port on the Yellow Sea was chosen for the summit, which is an important link in the transport and economic corridor of OBOW.
The main goals of the summit are to increase the effectiveness and influence of the SCO, to rally the member states and strengthen the Shanghai spirit, Deputy Director of the Central Asia and Eastern Europe Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China Liu Bin said in a conversation with journalists. And the Shanghai spirit is characterized by mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, respect for cultural diversity, aspiration for common development, he said. It is quite logical that a document on good-neighborliness in the SCO signed in Qingdao.
The topic of good-neighborliness is especially relevant in connection with the accession to the SCO of India and Pakistan - countries that have been in a most serious territorial conflict for more than 70 years. It is said that when the first talks were held in Moscow about the possible entry of both countries into the SCO, for the Kremlin, in order to avoid undesirable excesses, a very elongated oval table was specially ordered. On one side of it, the Indian delegation was placed, on the other - the Pakistani delegation. However, the process of grinding in new members is easier than anticipated, although not without problems. It turns out that the only organization where it was possible to reconcile Delhi and Islamabad is the SCO.

As for the further expansion of the SCO, it is not planned for the summit. The SCO charter says that it is an open organization, but" there is no itching. "Although there are many applications for membership in the SCO, and over the last year and a half, there have been even more.
According to the deputy general secretary of the Qingdao government, Zhang Qingdong, residents are proud of the fact that their city was chosen for the summit. "Qingdao will continue to develop cooperation with the SCO and its member countries," he said.

The Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China included both a unified position on the most pressing international problems and further plans for the development of bilateral relations in key areas.

 

13.08.2018

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