The Guardian 17 August, 2005

Russia, China and other
Asian countries consolidate relations

A new organisation of cooperating states is steadily emerging on the Eurasian continent. It was formed in Shanghai in 2001 following the US invasion of Afghanistan and initially comprised Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. It was soon joined by Uzbekistan making six member states. It has become know as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and according to Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Alexander Yakovenko has become "a very dynamic, influential international organisation".

The SCO was initially formed to settle several border disputes but has now gone beyond such issues to include regional economic cooperation and the creation of favourable conditions in trade and investments. In 2003 the SCO adopted a memorandum to include multi-national trade matters.

In the current month of August several members of the SCO are to conduct joint military, air and naval manoeuvres.

The SCO has now been joined as observers by India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia.

Yakovenko says that the SCO is "a unique political chance and a basically new model of geopolitical integration". He says that it is "an open organisation of partners, aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the region and developing broad international cooperation."

This organisation uniting two major world powers and also involving India, has enormous, mutually supplementary, potential to influence Eurasian and world political developments.

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