Debate: China and Russia have a deep-rooted security order

Charlie Taylor


Russia and China’s basic joint security regime SOC has deepened in all areas since its inception in 1996, writes the Middle East researcher Marianne Aringberg Laanatza who followed the development.
Published: May 6, 2022, 19:30 The question of whether China and Russia work closely together is superfluous, since the countries have been covered by a basic common security system since 1996, then called Shanghai Five and which in 2001 changed its name to Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO). The fact that there is another Security Scheme in addition to the OSCE seems to be little known. In addition to China and Russia, SCO’s original members were the following three states, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. When Uzbekistan became a member in 2001, the organization changed its name to the Shanghai Co-operation Organization. Since 2015, Pakistan and India have become members, as well as Iran in 2021. SCO is headquartered in Beijing, China. When China took the initiative to create Shanghai Five, 1996, and thus a special security order in Asia, it was about China after the dissolution of the Soviet Union got three new neighbors in Central Asia, namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. China’s strategy vis-à-vis the other four states was to secure borders and guarantees that religious and ethnic extremism would be combated and that the principle of territorial integrity would form the basis of cooperation. (Russia would thus not be able to make any territorial claims on the states concerned in Central Asia in the future.) All existing border conflicts would be resolved, as has been the case in the sphere of the original Shanghai Five member states. Since the advent of Shanghai Fives / SCO, the organization’s areas of cooperation have been significantly expanded from border issues to extensive military cooperation, trade, investment, culture, research and higher education, etc. Annual summits and many ministerial meetings, committees and working groups in various areas are part of the picture. Russia is the major arms exporter while China’s trade has increased avalanche. It can be mentioned that about thirty summits took place between Russia and China. In addition, a large number of joint military exercises have taken place bilaterally and in different constellations between Member States. At the international level, it was agreed within Shanghai Five / SCO that they would continue to cooperate with the West in the spirit created by the end of the Cold War. What mattered was global and peaceful co-operation and any disagreements would be resolved in the UN Security Council. The time of war was over … That there was such openness was clearly shown, when the terrorist attacks occurred in the United States on September 11, 2001 and the United States immediately wanted to invade Afghanistan and received support from SCO members Russia and China in the Security Council. Thus, it was perfectly okay not only for Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to allow the United States and NATO to have bases in their territories but to gain acceptance from the SCO. It is clear from various documents within SCO that its member countries were appalled and taken to bed. On the American side, the president had more than once described the United States as the only superpower in the world. The reaction from SCO became clear at the organization’s summit in 2004, when it was established that such a world order completely controlled by the United States and NATO and a breach of the role of the Security Council was completely unacceptable. A bipolar world order must therefore be created. The opposite pole would be China and Russia within the framework of SCO. With this, the prevailing spirit had actually been replaced by something that gradually and increasingly obviously led us into a new cold war, a process that has accelerated more and more in recent years to today’s critical situation. At the same time, it should be noted that both the OSCE and the SCO have in their basic security arrangements the principle of non-interference and territorial integrity, which is why Russia’s actions are contrary to both of these security arrangements. and several so-called dialogue partners. The latter category includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey. In 2021, the door was also opened for Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. SCO’s security arrangements thus have their tentacles extended outside Asia to Europe and North Africa. Within SCO, Russian-Chinese cooperation with India has gained an increasingly clear element in the area of ​​trade policy through the so-called BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa hold summits in connection with the summits within SCO. They have not only trade policy issues on their agenda but also investment strategies, financing and other important development strategic issues in order to be able to coordinate and / or assist each other in different areas. This cooperation can of course affect the group’s role in the WTO and future negotiations. Cooperation within the framework of the SCO has, as mentioned, become ever deeper and broader in countless areas, including in security policy, while China has made and is making extensive investments in the Member States and in several other Asian countries as well as outside Asia, in particular through the Belt and Road Initiative . Overall, the situation, with several states casting their votes in the UN regarding sanctions against Russia, may rather reflect the influence that cooperation between Russia and China has had in affected circles of countries than individual states’ views on Russia’s war against Ukraine.Marianne Aringberg Laanatza
Middle Eastern researchers affiliated with Lund and Stockholm universities


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