Central Asian countries are playing a key role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. According to political scientists, the region’s weight will grow in the future. India and Pakistan joined the SCO last year. Thus, Central Asian countries became participants of the influential international organization consisting of 40% of the world’s population and the third part of global economy. Experts say that this opens new opportunities for the region’s dynamic development. China, the largest world power, considers Central Asian states as strategically important partners and intends to expand cooperation in many spheres.
SANAT KUSHKUMBAYEV, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, KAZAKHSTAN INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES: - China is certainly interested in economic prosperity, stability and security in Central Asia, as the nearest neighbor to its north-western periphery. Our region, Central Asia, and Kazakhstan, in particular, borders with the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. China wants to make this province, which is far from the eastern and southern parts of the country, to become more developed and more economically stable. Accordingly, the standard of living would increase in this case.
This is a part of China's economic policy. In this context, our interests overlap. According to experts, at present, Central Asia is an important transit part of the reviving Silk Road for China. It is this region that is creating promising transit routes that are faster and economically more beneficial than the existing ones. China also sees Central Asia as the large supplier of natural resources. China is importing considerable volumes of oil and gas, and non-ferrous metals from the countries of the region.
SANAT KUSHKUMBAYEV, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, KAZAKHSTAN INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES: - It is a commonly known fact that China is the world’s largest trading power. Both Central Asia and China value their economic partnership. The implementation of cross-border initiatives, the creation of various clusters, particularly the dry port Khorgos, Druzhba-Alashankou station which is an important point in the transcontinental routes between Europe and Asia-all these initiatives were implemented as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
During the existence of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China managed to reduce the level of contradictions with its neighbors, successfully implement joint industrial and infrastructure projects, experts note. At present, the SCO is acting as an effective platform for diplomatic cooperation between China and the countries of Central Asia.