China-Russia Cooperation Can Become a Model for International Relations

The heads of state of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Sept. 15-16, took the occasion to reaffirm the need for mutual economic development and their rejection of a “unipolar world” dictated from the West. It was stressed during the event that the member countries (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – soon to be joined by Iran and Belarus) comprise over half of the world’s population and over 25% of global GDP, and is a “non bloc association” open to all. It also counts eight “dialogue partners”, the most recent of which are Egypt and Qatar.

Increasing the use of national currencies in bilateral trade and improving transport and energy infrastructure as well as food security were key issues discussed. While these countries would certainly welcome mutually advantageous relations with the United States and Europe, if they were offered, that is obviously not in the intentions of the G7.

A much awaited event on the sidelines was the first in-person discussion between the Chinese and Russian Presidents since their their historic agreement, signed on Feb. 4 at the Winter Olympics in Beijing (cf. SAS 06/22). Vladimir Putin stated unequivocally after the meeting that “We firmly adhere to the One China principle in practice. We condemn the provocations of the United States and its satellites in the Taiwan Strait.” Moreover, the West’s “attempts to create a unipolar world have recently taken on an absolutely ugly shape and are absolutely unacceptable to the vast majority of nations on the planet”.

President Xi Jinping noted that “in the face of colossal changes taking place on a global scale in our time which are unprecedented in history, we are ready together with our Russian colleagues to show an example of a responsible world power and to play a leading role in bringing such a rapidly changing world onto a trajectory of sustainable and positive development.”

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi held separate bilateral meetings with several heads of government, including Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi and Uzbek’s Shavkat Mirziyoyev. But an anticipated possible meeting with Xi Jinping did not come to fruition.

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