Expansion, Anti-Terrorism top priorities at SCO meetings, say experts

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Expansion, Anti-Terrorism top priorities at SCO meetings, say experts

BEIJING, MAY 19 (APP): China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, is on a trip to Central Asia and is also attending a key meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

This visit aims to bolster China’s ties with the region and get ready for the upcoming Council of Heads of State meeting of the SCO. According to Chinese experts, the main focus this year will be on expanding the SCO and stepping up anti-terrorism efforts, which underscores the organization’s significant role in today’s tricky international scene.

In Dushanbe on Saturday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang, who is also a member of the Communist Party’s top political body, met Tajik President Emomali Rahmon. Both sides agreed to boost cooperation in many areas.

Wang emphasized China’s commitment to deepening security cooperation with Tajikistan and fighting all forms of terrorism. He added that China and Tajikistan can work together in the United Nations, the SCO, and the China-Central Asia mechanism to protect their mutual interests and those of other developing countries, contributing to regional and global prosperity and stability.

President Rahmon highlighted that enhancing relations with China is a key goal of Tajikistan’s foreign policy. He affirmed Tajikistan’s support for the one-China principle, recognizing Taiwan as an integral part of China.

Wang’s visit is also about coordinating and preparing for this year’s SCO Heads of State meeting. According to Cui Heng from the Shanghai-based China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation, the main topics will be the SCO’s expansion and anti-terrorism efforts, especially given the complex international climate.

Belarus is set to become a full member of the SCO in July, as announced by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, reported by BelTA in March. Saudi Arabia’s cabinet approved joining the SCO last year too.

With these new members, the SCO can better coordinate regional actions and increase its influence. Cui noted that the organization’s anti-terrorism role is crucial, especially with recent terrorist attacks in member countries like Russia and Pakistan.

SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming, in a March interview with the Global Times, condemned terrorist acts and called for more agreements within the SCO to combat terrorism, separatism, and extremism.

Zhang mentioned that SCO member states often reach consensus through consultation on major issues, unifying their positions to address various problems.

In recent years, the SCO has been strengthening ties with other international organizations, offering new ideas and solutions for global governance, contributing to a more democratic and multipolar world order, said Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at Lanzhou University.

Experts also noted that Wang’s visit will further deepen cooperation with Central Asian countries, as China’s collaboration in both traditional and new areas is on the rise.

China will take over the rotating chair of the SCO from Kazakhstan in the latter half of this year. Wang’s visit to Kazakhstan aims to negotiate cooperation on leading the organization next year, Cui added.