As is known, in June 2011 Astana will host the jubilee Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. According to Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Yang Jiechi, Chinese side gives special attention to this regional event and intends to contribute to this meeting and promote regional interaction.
Noteworthy to say, that the Chinese experts are also interested in the SCO Summit and are currently summing up the results of its work over the period of its functioning. President of China Institute of International Studies Mr. Qu Xing kindly agreed to share his view on the activity and prospects of development of the SCO in an interview for Kazinform Agency.
Mr. Qu Xing, how do you assess the activity of the SCO member states in international cooperation? What is the Organization's role in ensuring regional security and stability?
Over the past ten years the SCO has turned into an authoritative regional- international structure. More and more countries express interest in the SCO.
Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran are the observer countries of the SCO and Belarus and Sri Lanka have been granted the "dialogue partner" status. Besides, adoption of the Regulations for the admission of new member states to the SCO at the Organization's Summit in Tashkent in 2010 laid a legal foundation for observers and dialogue partners to become full-fledged members of the SCO.
The SCO gives a priority attention to cooperation with the international community. The SCO member states contribute a lot to cooperation with the observer countries and dialogue partners in security, economy and humanitarian sector.
At the Summit held in 2010 in Tashkent Chinese President Hu Jintao highlighted that China would support the Organization's work on deepening cooperation with the observer countries which would make them members in cooperation in fighting terrorism, drug-trafficking, in transportation, energy and culture in order to promote regional security and development.
The SCO is actively involved in the dialogue concerning the Afghan problem and the issues of security in Central and Southern Asia through the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group. Thus, the Organization held an international conference on Afghanistan in Moscow which aimed at ensuring stability in the region and resolution of the Afghan conflict. Representatives of such international structures as the UN, CSTO, CIS, EU and NATO were among the participants of the conference. All of the abovementioned facts prove that the SCO plays an active, constructive role in ensuring regional stability and assistance in joint development.
How do you assess the level of trade-economic cooperation within the SCO?
In the past ten years the trade-economic cooperation within the Organization has been rapidly developed which is reflected in many trade operations and investments. It is also seen in quick growth of trade between China and other member states.
According to the statistical data, provided by the Kazakh customs service, trade turnover between Kazakhstan and China has reached USD 14.09 bln which demonstrates that China is one of the largest trade partners of your country. Besides, commercial development of Khorgos Chinese-Kazakh International Centre of Boundary Cooperation sets the best pattern of assistance in development of cooperation in Central Asian region. Alongside, the official visit of the Kazakh President to China in February 2011 boosted development of both countries' trade-economic cooperation.
In recent years the SCO member countries exerted every effort to expand cooperation in mutual fight with the global financial crisis and set to implementation of the SCO Multilateral economic and trade cooperation plan. The Memorandum of cooperation in construction of Astana-Almaty high-speed railway signed by China and Kazakhstan in February 2011 promotes further development of cooperation in transport.
In whole, economic prosperity and increase in living standards remain priority objectives for all SCO member states. The same goal was set to all states in ensuring long-term stability. Together all these objectives call on the SCO states to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation for sustainable economic development.
This year Astana will host the jubilee Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In your opinion, what is the role of Kazakhstan in establishment and development of the Organization?
The forthcoming Summit in Astana is of great importance for the Organization. Over the ten-year period the SCO has achieved impressive results due to mutually beneficial mechanism of building economy, security and humanitarian sphere. These are the brightest achievements of the SCO which, in turn, creates a platform for further cooperation of the member states. The Organization had witnessed many events which led to great changes in the whole region; it plays an important role in ensuring stability, development of regional economic cooperation.
As an important member state of the Organization and as an authoritative country in Central Asia, the Republic of Kazakhstan plays an active role in promotion of development of the SCO. We suppose that Astana SCO Summit will be successful.
As a scientist, I expect that the Summit will allow summarizing the SCO's activity in all aspects and elaborating a good plan concerning its future development.
Thank you for the interview!