China and Russia in the SCO: Consensus & divergence

Human Affairs 30 (2):189-198 (2020)
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Abstract

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is the largest regional security and cooperation organization and has existed for nearly two decades. Since its inception China and Russia have acted as the driving force behind it, playing a leading role in its development. The main goals of the Big Two’s cooperation are to ensure the Eurasian corridor is developed, to promote collective security through regional cooperation organizations, including the United Nations, and to recast the world order on the basis of political dialogue, mutual respect, equality and international law. Nonetheless there are disagreements between China and Russia and among the member states. China is keen to tackle terrorism, extremism and separatism and pursue economic collaboration, while Russia is more ambitious about transforming the SCO into a strategic counterbalance to U.S. hegemony. Looking forward, people may wonder how China, a rising economic power and military force, will continue to share liabilities within the SCO, particularly with Russia but also the other member states. There is no definite answer to that question at the moment. All we can say is that the SCO has steadily evolved into one of the most multilateral and dynamic organizations. But if progress is to be sustained, reforms and systematic change are necessary.

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Li Wang
Jilin University

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