Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, international security and defence organization. It is the world's largest regional organization in terms of geographic scope and population, covering approximately 60% of the area of Eurasia, 40% of the world population. Its combined GDP is around 20% of global GDP.[4]

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
Chinese: 上海合作组织
Russian: Шанхайская Организация Сотрудничества
PredecessorShanghai Five
Formation15 June 2001; 21 years ago (2001-06-15)
TypeMutual security, political, and economic cooperation
Legal statusRegional cooperation forum[1]
HeadquartersBeijing, China (Secretariat)
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (RATS Executive Committee)


Dialogue partners

Guest attendees

Official language
Zhang Ming
Deputy Secretaries-General
Executive Committee Director
Ruslan Mirzaev Edit this at Wikidata

The SCO is the successor to the Shanghai Five, formed in 1996 between the People's Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.[5] On 15 June 2001, the leaders of these nations and Uzbekistan met in Shanghai to announce a new organization with deeper political and economic cooperation; the SCO Charter was signed on 7 July 2002 and entered into force on 19 September 2003. Its membership has since expanded to eight states, with India and Pakistan joining on 9 June 2017. Several countries are engaged as observers or dialogue partners.

The SCO is governed by the Heads of State Council (HSC), its supreme decision-making body, which meets once a year.


The Shanghai FiveEdit

The Shanghai Five group was created on 26 April 1996 with the signing of the Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions in Shanghai by the heads of states of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.[6]

On 24 April 1997 the same countries signed the Treaty on Reduction of Military Forces in Border Regions in a meeting in Moscow, Russia.[7] On 20 May 1997 Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin signed a declaration on a "multipolar world".[8]

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev, and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, at one time the leaders of the Shanghai Five.

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. At the Dushanbe summit, members agreed to "oppose intervention in other countries' internal affairs on the reason of 'humanitarianism' and 'protecting human rights;' and support the efforts of one another in safeguarding the five countries' national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and social stability."[5] The Shanghai Five structure helped speed up the members' resolution of border disputes, agree on military deployments in border areas, and address security threats.[9]: 95 

Developing institutional formsEdit

From 2001 to 2008, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation developed rapidly, establishing a number of permanent bodies and ad hoc initiatives dealing with economic and security matters.[9]: 95 

In 2001, the annual summit returned to Shanghai and the group was institutionalized.[9]: 95  The five member nations first admitted Uzbekistan in the Shanghai Five mechanism.[9]: 95  Then all six heads of state signed on 15 June 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.[3]

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 forms of operation, and established it in international law.[citation needed]

In July 2005, at the summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, with representatives of India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan attending an SCO summit for the first time, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of the Kazakhstan, greeted the guests in words that had never been used before in any context: "The leaders of the states sitting at this negotiation table are representatives of half of humanity".[10]

By 2007 the SCO had initiated over twenty large-scale projects related to transportation, energy and telecommunications and held regular meetings of security, military, defence, foreign affairs, economic, cultural, banking, and other officials from its member states.[11]

In July 2015 in Ufa, Russia, the SCO decided to admit India and Pakistan as full members. Both signed the memorandum of obligations in June 2016 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, thereby starting the formal process of joining the SCO as full members.[12] On 9 June 2017, at a summit in Astana, India and Pakistan officially joined SCO as full members.[13][14]

The SCO has established relations with the United Nations in 2004 (where it is an observer in the General Assembly), Commonwealth of Independent States in 2005, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2005, the Collective Security Treaty Organization in 2007, the Economic Cooperation Organization in 2007, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2011, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in 2014, and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in 2015.[15] SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) has established relations with the African Union's African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) in 2018.[16]

Organisational structureEdit

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. Because of their government structure, the prime ministers of the parliamentary democracies of India and Pakistan attend the SCO Council of Heads of State summits, as their responsibilities are similar to the presidents of other SCO nations.[17] The current Council of Heads of State consists of:[citation needed]

The Council of Heads of Government is the second-highest council in the organisation. This council also holds annual summits, at which time members discuss issues of multilateral cooperation. The council also approves the organisation's budget. The current Council of Heads of Government consists of:[citation needed]

The Council of Foreign Ministers also holds regular meetings, where they discuss the current international situation and the SCO's interaction with other international organisations.[19]

The Council of National Coordinators coordinates the multilateral cooperation of member states within the framework of the SCO's charter.[20]

Directors of SCO RATS Executive Committee
Years in office Name
15 June 2004 – 2006   Vyacheslav Kasymov
2007–2009   Myrzakan Subanov
2010–2012   Dzhenisbek Dzhumanbekov [ru]
2013–2015   Zhang Xinfeng
2016–2018   Yevgeniy Sysoev [ru]
2019–2021   Jumakhon Giyosov
2022–present   Ruslan Mirzaev
Heads of SCO Secretariat
Years in office Name
Executive Secretary
15 January 2004 – 2006   Zhang Deguang
2007–2009   Bolat Nurgaliyev
2010–2012   Muratbek Imanaliyev
2013–2015   Dmitry Mezentsev
2016–2018   Rashid Alimov
2019–2021   Vladimir Norov
2022–present   Zhang Ming

The Secretariat of the SCO, headquartered in Beijing, China, is the primary executive body of the organisation. It serves to implement organisational decisions and decrees, drafts proposed documents (such as declarations and agendas), function as a document depository for the organisation, arranges specific activities within the SCO framework, and promotes and disseminates information about the SCO. The SCO Secretary-General is elected to a three-year term. Zhang Ming of China became the current Secretary-General on 1 January 2022.

The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) Executive Committee, 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 Director of SCO RATS Executive Committee is elected to a three-year term. Ruslan Mirzaev of Uzbekistan became the current Director on 1 January 2022. Each member state also sends a permanent representative to RATS.[21]

The official languages of the SCO are Chinese and Russian.[3]


Establishment of S5
Establishment of SCO
Sri Lanka
Saudi Arabia
  Member      Observer      Dialogue partner

Member statesEdit

Country Accession started Member since
  China 15 June 2001[a]
  India 10 June 2015 9 June 2017
Acceding members
  Iran 17 September 2021 No earlier than May 2023
  Belarus 16 September 2022 TBA

Observer statesEdit

Afghanistan received observer status at the 2012 SCO summit in Beijing, China on 7 June 2012.[24] No country has yet provided diplomatic recognition to the Taliban, and its representatives have not participated in SCO meetings so far.[2] The Afghanistan head of state first attended the 2004 SCO summit as a guest attendee.

In 2008, Belarus applied for partner status in the organisation and was promised Kazakhstan's support towards that goal.[citation needed] However, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov voiced doubt on the probability of Belarus' membership, saying that Belarus was a purely European country.[26] Despite this, at the 2009 SCO Summit in Yekaterinburg a decision was made to grant Belarus the dialogue partner status, which it officially received on 28 April 2010.[citation needed] After applying in 2012 for the observer status, Belarus received it in 2015.[25] On 14 June 2022, Russia's Special Presidential Representative on SCO Affairs Bakhtiyor Khakimov confirmed that Belarus had applied for membership.[27]

Iran has been an observer state since 2005.[28] On 17 September 2021, the SCO launched the procedures of Iran's accession to the SCO, which are expected to take "a fair amount of time".[29][30][31] On 15 September 2022, Iran signed a memorandum of obligations to join the SCO at the 2022 summit, and will join the organization subject to its parliament ratifying a number of agreements.[32][33] On 27 November 2022, the Iranian parliament approved Iran's membership to the SCO.[34][35]

Mongolia became the first country to receive observer status at the 2004 Tashkent Summit.[36]

Pakistan, India and Iran received observer status at the 2005 SCO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan on 5 July 2005.[36] India and Pakistan became full members of the Shanghai Cooperative Organization in 2017.[36]

Dialogue partnersEdit

Afghan President Hamid Karzai at an SCO summit in 2004.

The status of dialogue partner was created in 2008.[37]

Country Status approved Status granted[b]
  Sri Lanka 15 or 16 June 2009[38][39] 6 May 2010[40]
  Turkey 7 June 2012[24] 26 April 2013[41]
  Cambodia 10 July 2015[42] 24 September 2015[43]
  Azerbaijan 14 March 2016[44]
    Nepal 22 March 2016[45]
  Armenia 16 April 2016[46]
  Egypt 16 September 2021 14 September 2022[47][48]
  Saudi Arabia
  Kuwait 16 September 2022 [48] 5 May 2023 [49]
  United Arab Emirates
Upcoming dialogue partners[c]
  Bahrain 16 September 2022 TBD
Former dialogue partners
  Belarus 15 or 16 June 2009 28 April 2010

Guest attendancesEdit

Multiple international organisations and one country are guest attendances to SCO summits.

Future membership possibilitiesEdit

In 2010, the SCO has approved a procedure for admitting new members.[50][better source needed]

Mongolia and Afghanistan, which have observer status, have stated their intention to become full SCO members.[51][better source needed]

In 2011, Turkey applied for dialogue partner status,[52] which it obtained in 2013.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated that he has discussed the possibility of abandoning Turkey's candidacy of accession to the European Union in return for full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.[53] This was reinforced again on 21 November 2016, after the European Parliament voted unanimously to suspend accession negotiations with Turkey.[54] Two days later, on 23 November 2016, Turkey was granted the chairmanship of SCO energy club for the 2017 period. That made Turkey the first country to chair a club in the organisation without full membership status. In 2022, 22nd summit of the Shangai Organization on September 15 and 16 in Samarkand. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilhan Aliev were particularly expected. Asked by media, the Turkish president said that Turkey would seek full SCO membership status.[55]

In 2011, Vietnam expressed interest in obtaining observer status (but has not applied for it).[52]

In 2012, Bangladesh applied for observer status.[51][56]

In 2012, Ukraine expressed interest in obtaining observer status (but has not applied for it).[57][58]

In 2015, Syria applied for dialogue partner status.[d][59][60]

In 2016, Israel applied for dialogue partner status.[59]

In 2019 or earlier,[when?] Iraq applied for dialogue partner status.[61]

Turkmenistan has previously declared itself a permanently neutral country, which was recognized by a resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, thus precluding its membership in the SCO.[62][63] Turkmenistan head of state has been attending SCO summits since 2007 as a guest attendee.

On March 29, 2023, Saudi Arabia's cabinet approved a memorandum on granting the kingdom the status of a dialogue partner in the SCO.[64]


Cooperation on securityEdit

The SCO is primarily centered on security-related concerns, often describing the main threats it confronts as being terrorism, separatism and extremism. It has addressed regional human trafficking, weapons trafficking, and created terrorist blacklists.[9]: 96 

At SCO summit, held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on 16–17 June 2004, the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) was established. On 21 April 2006, the SCO announced plans to fight cross-border drug crimes under the counter-terrorism rubric.[65]

In October 2007, the SCO signed an agreement with the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, to broaden cooperation on issues such as security, crime, and drug trafficking.[66]

The organisation is also redefining cyberwarfare, saying that the dissemination of information "harmful to the spiritual, moral and cultural spheres of other states" should be considered a "security threat". An accord adopted in 2009 defined "information war", in part, as an effort by a state to undermine another's "political, economic, and social systems".[67] The Diplomat reported in 2017 that SCO has foiled 600 terror plots and extradited 500 terrorists through RATS.[68] The 36th meeting of the Council of the RATS decided to hold a joint anti-terror exercise, Pabbi-Antiterror-2021, in Pakistan in 2021.[69]

Military activitiesEdit

SCO leaders at Peace Mission 2007. Hu Jintao, Vladimir Putin, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Islam Karimov

Over the past few years, the organisation's activities have expanded to include increased military cooperation, intelligence sharing, and counterterrorism.[70] At the same time, leaders of SCO states have repeatedly stated that the SCO is not a military alliance.[71]

As of 2023, the SCO had not provided military support in any actual conflicts.[9]: 100  However, military exercises are regularly conducted among members to promote cooperation and coordination against terrorism and other external threats, and to maintain regional peace and stability.[3] 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. Since then China and Russia have teamed up for large-scale war games in Peace Mission 2005, Peace Mission 2007 and Peace Mission 2009, under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. More than 4,000 soldiers participated at the joint military exercises in Peace Mission 2007, which took place in Chelyabinsk, Russia near the Ural Mountains, as was agreed upon in April 2006 at a meeting of SCO Defence Ministers.[72][73] Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said that the exercises would be transparent and open to media and the public. Following the war games' successful completion, Russian officials began speaking of India joining such exercises in the future and the SCO taking on a military role. Peace Mission 2010, conducted 9–25 September at Kazakhstan's Matybulak training area, saw over 5,000 personnel from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan conduct joint planning and operational maneuvers.[74]

The SCO has served as a platform for larger military announcements by members. During the 2007 war games in Russia, with leaders of SCO member states in attendance including Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russia's President Vladimir Putin used the occasion to take advantage of a captive audience. Russian strategic bombers, he said, would resume regular long-range patrols for the first time since the Cold War. "Starting today, such tours of duty will be conducted regularly and on the strategic scale", Putin said. "Our pilots have been grounded for too long. They are happy to start a new life".[citation needed]

On 4 June 2014, in the Tajik capital Dushanbe, the idea was brought up to merge the SCO with the Collective Security Treaty Organization. However, in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, many SCO and even CSTO members have distanced themselves from military cooperation with Russia.[75]

Economic cooperationEdit

Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are also members of the Eurasian Economic Union.

A Framework Agreement to enhance economic cooperation was signed by the SCO member states on 23 September 2003. At the same meeting the Premier of China, 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.[76][77] A follow up plan with 100 specific actions was signed one year later, on 23 September 2004.[78]

On 26 October 2005, during the Moscow Summit of the SCO, the Secretary General of the Organisation said that the SCO will prioritise joint energy projects; including in the oil and gas sector, the exploration of new hydrocarbon reserves, and joint use of water resources. The creation of the SCO Interbank Consortium 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.[79][80] 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".[81] 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.[82] However, during the 2008 summit it was stated that "Against the backdrop of a slowdown in the growth of world economy pursuing a responsible currency and financial policy, control over the capital flowing, ensuring food and energy security have been gaining special significance".[83][failed verification]

At the 2007 SCO summit Iranian Vice President Parviz Davoodi addressed an initiative that had been garnering greater interest and assuming a heightened sense of urgency when he said, "The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is a good venue for designing a new banking system which is independent from international banking systems".[84]

The address by President Putin also included these comments:

We now clearly see the defectiveness of the monopoly in world finance and the policy of economic selfishness. To solve the current problem Russia will take part in changing the global financial structure so that it will be able to guarantee stability and prosperity in the world and to ensure progress.
The world is seeing the emergence of a qualitatively different geo-political situation, with the emergence of new centers of economic growth and political influence.
We will witness and take part in the transformation of the global and regional security and development architectures adapted to new realities of the 21st century, when stability and prosperity are becoming inseparable notions.[85]

Leaders present at the SCO summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia in 2009.

On 16 June 2009, at the Yekaterinburg Summit, China announced plans to provide a US$10 billion loan to other SCO member states to shore up the struggling economies of its members amid the global financial crisis.[86] The summit was held together with the first BRIC summit, and the China–Russia joint statement said that they want a bigger quota in the International Monetary Fund.[87]

During 2019 Bishkek summit, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has suggested taking steps to trade in local currencies instead of U.S. dollars and setting up financial institutions including an SCO bank.[88]

In June 2022, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Mehdi Safari has suggested creating a single SCO currency to facilitate trade and financial transactions among SCO members.[89]

During 19–22 October 2022, Iran will host SCOCOEX, an international conference and exhibition on economic cooperation opportunities available to the SCO member states and partners.[90]

As part of the SCO's economic agenda, it has established a relatively successful student exchange program called the SCO University.[9]: 95 

Cultural cooperationEdit

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.[91][92]

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.[93]


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.[94] The charter also dictates that the Council of Heads of Government (that is, the Prime Ministers) shall meet annually in a place 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.[94]

Summit of Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) in 2007.
Heads of state of member states at the 2018 summit in Qingdao, Shandong, China
Heads of states and governments of the member states at the 2019 summit
Heads of states and governments of the member states at the 2022 summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

List of summitsEdit

Summits of heads of state
Date Country Location
14–15 June 2001   China Shanghai
7 June 2002   Russia Saint Petersburg
29 May 2003   Russia Moscow
17 June 2004   Uzbekistan Tashkent
5 July 2005   Kazakhstan Astana
15 June 2006   China Shanghai
16 August 2007   Kyrgyzstan Bishkek
28 August 2008   Tajikistan Dushanbe
15–16 June 2009   Russia Yekaterinburg
10–11 June 2010   Uzbekistan Tashkent[95]
14–15 June 2011   Kazakhstan Astana[96]
6–7 June 2012   China Beijing
13 September 2013   Kyrgyzstan Bishkek
11–12 September 2014   Tajikistan Dushanbe
9–10 July 2015   Russia Ufa
23–24 June 2016   Uzbekistan Tashkent[97]
8–9 June 2017   Kazakhstan Astana
9–10 June 2018 [zh]   China Qingdao
14–15 June 2019   Kyrgyzstan Bishkek[98]
10 November 2020   Russia videoconference[99]
16–17 September 2021   Tajikistan Dushanbe[100]
15–16 September 2022   Uzbekistan Samarkand
4 July 2023   India Goa[101]
Summits of heads of government
Date Country Location
14 September 2001   Kazakhstan Almaty
23 September 2003   China Beijing
23 September 2004   Kyrgyzstan Bishkek
26 October 2005   Russia Moscow
15 September 2006   Tajikistan Dushanbe
2 November 2007   Uzbekistan Tashkent
30 October 2008   Kazakhstan Astana
14 October 2009   China Beijing[102]
25 November 2010   Tajikistan Dushanbe[103]
7 November 2011   Russia Saint Petersburg
5 December 2012   Kyrgyzstan Bishkek[104]
29 November 2013   Uzbekistan Tashkent
14–15 December 2014   Kazakhstan Astana
14–15 December 2015   China Zhengzhou
2–3 November 2016   Kyrgyzstan Bishkek
30 November 2017   Russia Sochi
11–12 October 2018   Tajikistan Dushanbe
1–2 November 2019   Uzbekistan Tashkent
30 November 2020   India videoconference
25 November 2021   Kazakhstan videoconference
1 November 2022   China videoconference


Relations with the WestEdit

The United States applied for observer status in the SCO, but was rejected in 2005.[105]

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 requested the U.S. to set a clear timetable for withdrawing its troops from SCO member states. Shortly afterwards, Uzbekistan requested the U.S. leave the K2 air base.[106]

A report in 2007 noted that the SCO has made no direct comments against the U.S. or its military presence in the region; however, some indirect statements at the past summits have been viewed by Western media outlets as "thinly veiled swipes at Washington".[107]

From 2001 to 2008, the Western reaction to the SCO was generally skepticism of the organization's goals.[9]: 95  By the 2010s, however, the West increasingly began to view the SCO as a potential contributor to stability in the region, particularly with regards to Afghanistan.[9]: 96 

Geopolitical aspectsEdit

SCO summit in Ufa, Russia in 2015
SCO and NATO Member States

There have been many discussions and commentaries about the geopolitical nature of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Matthew Brummer, in the Journal of International Affairs, tracks the implications of SCO expansion into the Persian Gulf.[108] Also, according to political scientist Thomas Ambrosio, one aim of SCO was to ensure that liberal democracy could not gain ground in these countries.[109] Political scientist Thomas Fingar writes that China took the lead in establishing the Shanghai Five primarily to limit Russia's ability to reassert its influence in Central Asia.[110]

Iranian writer Hamid Golpira had this to say on the topic: "According to Zbigniew Brzezinski's theory, control of the Eurasian landmass is the key to global domination and control of Central Asia is the key to control of the Eurasian landmass....Russia and China have been paying attention to Brzezinski's theory, since they formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in 2001, ostensibly to curb extremism in the region and enhance border security, but most probably with the real objective of counterbalancing the activities of the United States and the rest of the NATO alliance in Central Asia".[111]

At a 2005 summit in Kazakhstan the SCO issued a Declaration of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation which addressed their "concerns" and contained an elaboration of the organisation's principles. It included: "The heads of the member states point out that, against the backdrop of a contradictory process of globalisation, multilateral cooperation, which is based on the principles of equal right and mutual respect, non-intervention in internal affairs of sovereign states, non-confrontational way of thinking and consecutive movement towards democratisation of international relations, contributes to overall peace and security, and call upon the international community, irrespective of its differences in ideology and social structure, to form a new concept of security based on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and interaction."[112]

In November 2005 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated that the "Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is working to establish a rational and just world order" and that "The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation provides us with a unique opportunity to take part in the process of forming a fundamentally new model of geopolitical integration".[113]

The People's Daily expressed the matter in these terms: "The Declaration points out that the SCO member countries have the ability and responsibility to safeguard the security of the Central Asian region, and calls on Western countries to leave Central Asia. That is the most noticeable signal given by the Summit to the world".[114]

In January 2023, India as SCO chair, invited Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Minister and Chief justice to attend a meeting in Goa in May 2023.[115] SCO is not a platform for resolving bilateral issues while India and Pakistan continue to argue over terrorism.[116]

Human rights issuesEdit

In the December 2015 United Nations General Assembly vote, all six members of the SCO voted against the overall human rights situation in Iran, expressing concern not only about religious persecution but also the government's frequent use of the death penalty, failure to uphold legal due process, restrictions on freedom of expression, and ongoing discrimination against women and ethnic minorities.[117]

In July 2019, five of the eight SCO members were among the 50 countries that backed China's policies in Xinjiang, signing a joint letter to the UNHRC commending China's "remarkable achievements in the field of human rights", claiming "Now safety and security has returned to Xinjiang and the fundamental human rights of people of all ethnic groups there are safeguarded.[118][119] By June 2020, four of the eight SCO members were among the 53 countries that backed the Hong Kong national security law at the United Nations.[120]

Other analysisEdit

A 2015 European Parliamentary Research Service paper concludes, "The SCO's main achievement thus far is to have offered its members a cooperative forum to balance their conflicting interests and to ease bilateral tensions. It has built up joint capabilities and has agreed on common approaches in the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism. However, major shortcomings, such as institutional weaknesses, a lack of common financial funds for the implementation of joint projects and conflicting national interests have prevented the SCO from achieving a higher level of regional cooperation in other areas."[121]

Current leaders of member statesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five mechanism since 26 April 1996. Uzbekistan was included in the Shanghai Five mechanism on 14 June 2001.[22] The six states then signed a declaration establishing the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on 15 June 2001.[23]
  2. ^ A country officially becomes a SCO dialogue partner after its minister of foreign affairs and SCO Secretary-General sign a memorandum granting the status.
  3. ^ These countries have not yet signed memorandums granting them the status of SCO dialogue partner, so they are not de jure dialogue partners yet. Historically, such memorandum has been signed within a year from an announcement that a country is approved as SCO dialogue partner.
  4. ^ Syria has initially applied for observer status, but "it was explained that first it is necessary to become a dialogue partner of the organization".[59]


  1. ^ Lars Erslev Andersen. "Shanghai Cooperation Organisation". Danish Institute for International Studies. Retrieved 4 November 2022. However, it is not a defence alliance but rather a forum for cooperation that includes security policy issues.
  2. ^ a b Seiwert, Eva (30 September 2021). "The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Will Not Fill Any Vacuum in Afghanistan". Foreign Policy Research Institute. Retrieved 24 July 2022. So far, the SCO has not officially recognized the Taliban regime and did not invite its representatives to the summit in Dushanbe in mid-September.
  3. ^ a b c d "About SCO". Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Archived from the original on 28 October 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Iran looks east after China-led bloc OKs entry". France 24. 18 September 2021. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  5. ^ a b Gill, Bates (30 November 2001). "Shanghai Five: An Attempt to Counter U.S. Influence in Asia?". Brookings. Archived from the original on 3 May 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
  6. ^ Albert, Eleanor (14 October 2015). "The Shanghai Cooperation Organization". Council on Foreign Relations. Archived from the original on 16 October 2018. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  7. ^ Al-Qahtani, Mutlaq (2006). "The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Law of International Organizations". Chinese Journal of International Law. Oxford University Press. 5 (1): 130. doi:10.1093/chinesejil/jml012. ISSN 1540-1650.
  8. ^ "Russian-Chinese Joint Declaration on a Multipolar World and the Establishment of a New International Order". United Nations General Assembly. Archived from the original on 23 June 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Proń, Elżbieta (2023). "China in Central Asia: New Developments in 2013-2021". China and Eurasian Powers in a Multipolar World Order 2.0: Security, Diplomacy, Economy and Cyberspace. Mher Sahakyan. New York: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781003352587-11. ISBN 978-1-003-35258-7. OCLC 1353290533.
  10. ^ Kazinform, 5 July 2005.
  11. ^ Agostinis, Giovanni; Urdinez, Francisco (20 October 2021). "The Nexus between Authoritarian and Environmental Regionalism: An Analysis of China's Driving Role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization". Problems of Post-Communism. 69 (4–5): 330–344. doi:10.1080/10758216.2021.1974887. ISSN 1075-8216. S2CID 239486136.
  12. ^ "India, Pakistan edge closer to joining SCO security bloc". Agence France-Presse. 24 June 2016. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2016 – via The Express Tribune.
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