Collapse of the Soviet Union has opened a new era in the world politics. Rigid, static andbipolar structure of Cold War left its seat to chaotic, slippery and more complicated unipolar worldorder. Security alliances of the blocs of the Cold War do not exist anymore, permanent ally-enemynotions collapsed and every single state have started a competition in order to maximize their owninterests. Meanings of terms that have significant importance in international relations havechanged dramatically in post-Cold-War era. Security is the first of them; it has been transformedto something more complex and multi-dimensional from solely military level.
During Cold War,states only perceived threat from other states, but in the post-Cold-War era, number of threats hasincreased and their effects on stability and security of states deepened. Although military securityis still important, it has lost its primary position in security understandings of the states; new threatslike energy, separatism, radical movements, migration, drug and human trafficking, environmentalproblems have begun to occupy higher places in security threat lists of states. Role of economy inworld politics increased significantly and it has become the key determinant in the policies of states.
Liberalism and free market economy spread to whole world and privatization has become afashionable phenomenon especially in post-communist states.1 When it comes to the fore thatCentral Asia is one of the most feasible and profitable sources for China, political conditions ofthe region and transfer security also China pays great attention to energy rich regions of the worldand it uses every chance to infiltrate into these regions through economical manners. When all ofthese above facts are examined, it comes to know that “Shanghai Cooperation Organization” isone of the main sources to tied China with Central Asian countries.
1 Serge Schemann, End of the Soviet Union; The Soviet State, Born of a Dream, Dies. In: The New York Times. Link:http://www.
nytimes.com/1991/12/26/world/end-of-the-soviet-union-the-soviet-state-born-of-a-dream-dies.html?pagewanted=all, accessed:03.01.2018. Shanghai Cooperation Organization “Shanghai Five” which was found in 1996 with involvement of China, Russia, Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan process which was primarily founded for security necessities ofmembers. Later on, in 2001 “Shanghai Five” was transformed to “Shanghai CooperationOrganization”. SCO which was founded with participation of Russia, China, Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in 2001.
2 Members SCO currently has 8 members; China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan Uzbekistan andIndia with Pakistan which has joined on June 9th of 2017 in Astana Kazakhstan. Consequently,members established “observer membership” in order to hold strategically important states in theperiphery of the organization and prepare them for integration with the organization. SCO observermembers have right to attend to the summits but they do not have right to vote. The countries-observers in the SCO at the moment are Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia. The partnercountries are Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka. It can be said thatalthough members have some common causes and targets, reasons for creating and joining to theorganization and expectations from the organization varies from member to member.
SCO alsohas not finished its legal basis for enlargement and members have disagreements on the possiblemembers of the organization and deepening the organization instead of enlargement. Somemembers claim that new members will bring their own problems to the organization and causeextra burden in to the SCO. However, on the contrary, some say that new members can bring newchances for SCO especially in terms of energy and transportation.3 Enlargement supporters claimthat observer states can make investments in the rural areas of the Central Asia in the level ofcompanies and states. Through this, they can make great contributions to economical developmentand cooperation. Although members signed a moratorium on enlargement in 2006, it can be seenthat, there is lack of agreement on the enlargement issue. While China and Uzbekistan supportenlargement, other members object enlargement process. 4 2 ??????????? ??????????? ?????????????? (???), ??? ???, teb-consulting, Link: http://teb-consulting.
ru/post-9523 Accessed: 04.01.20183 Vladimir Portyakov, “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Achievements, Problems, Prospects”, Far Eastern Affairs, (2017)4 G. Chufrin, “The SCO: Changing Priorities,” International Affairs Source: http://teb-consulting.ru/post-9523 The head of the organization is the Council of Heads of State. They make decisions within theframework of the work of the community.
Meetings take place at summits held annually in one ofthe cities of member countries. The location of the meeting goes by the order of the Russianalphabet. The main objectives of the SCO include: strengthening mutual trust and good-neighborliness among the participating countries; assistance in their effective cooperation in thepolitical, trade-economic, scientific-technical and cultural fields, as well as in the sphere ofeducation, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection and others; joint provision andmaintenance of peace, security and stability in the region; promotion to the creation of a democratic,just and rational new international political and economic order.5 SCO has become active in threemain fields in Eurasia region; political, economic and security. 5 ?????? ??????????, ??????????? ??????????? ?????????????? (???), ?????? ??? ? ??????, In: ??? ???????Link: https://ria.
ru/spravka/20170608/1495914523.html, Accessed 03.01.2018 Source: https://www.sb.by/ At current Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) completed its institutional structure andhave arose as an important regional organization that occupies nearly 34 million 314 thousandsquare kilometers, approximately four fifth of Eurasian landmass and have 2.9 billion populationwhich constitutes half of the entire world population.
Organization hosts 4 nuclear forces, Russia,China, India and Pakistan. Their massive military force and permanent membership to UnitedNations Security Council. Oil reserves of SCO countries (including observer member Iran)constitutes 20% of world’s total reserves.6 Although SCO is larger than NATO and EuropeanUnion in terms of population, land size and natural sources and has important advantages in termsof military, political force and economical development. In addition, the SCO is also trying toclosely cooperate with other international organizations (the UN, ASEAN, the CIS and others).Their representatives regularly receive official invitations to participate in the SCO summits. 7 6 Nozimahon Sayfiddinova “Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Dynamics of Economic Integration in The Far East” International Journalof Engineering Inventions (2017) Link: http://www.ijeijournal.
com/papers/Vol.6-Iss.6/I06065863.pdf Accessed 03.01.
2018 7 ??????????? ??????????? ?????????????? (???), ??? ???, teb-consulting, Link: http://teb-consulting.ru/post-9523 Accessed: 04.01.2018 Challenges In economic terms energy constitutes the main basis of cooperation. China needs energy to feedits giant economy, on the other hand energy rich members of the SCO such as Russia, Kazakhstanand to some extent Uzbekistan needs to sell their energy.
Consequently SCO creates the forum forenergy rich and energy demanding states. On the other hand, its increasing dialogue within SCO,trade volume between members is increasing gradually although there are still some problems.Besides energy issue, Central Asia constitutes the western gate of China in the historical “SilkRoad” to economically developed Western markets. As an economy oriented state, China needs tosell commodities that it has manufactured and developing countries of Central Asia, just in theother side of the border, constitutes great market for them. Central Asia is located in the middle oftwo important economically important regions; China and Europe. Therefore, Central Asia is theregion that bounds China to European markets. As it can be seen Central Asia is vital for China interms of increasing its commercial ties both with Europe and newly independent states in theregion.
8 Central Asia is not only important for Beijing because of energy and commerce but alsothis region is important in terms of territorial integrity of China. Separatist movements in Xinjiang-Uygur Region demanding independence from Beijing are longstanding problem of China thatescalades occasionally. Local people of this region, Uygur Turks, have strong ethnic, religious andcultural ties with Central Asia countries. After collapse of Soviet Union, independence of CentralAsian states influenced Uygur people in Xinjiang region. Some radical Islamist organizations,which demand independence, made terrorist attacks both in Xinjiang-Uygur Region and other partsof the China.9 Beijing has implemented some harsh and strong measures against these terroristorganizations.
However besides domestic activities China has made international moves to cut anypossible support to these organizations from ethnically and religiously close Central Asia states.China gained support of his neighbors in Central Asia in its fight against separatist forces throughinternational organizations, namely Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In sum, Central Asia hasvital importance for China in terms of security, economy, commercial ties and energy. On the otherhand China has not completed his economical development, yet.
Therefore, PRC tries to avoidmilitary engagements as much as possible, because Beijing interprets such an action as a greatthreat to its economical development. Consequently, Beijing aims to avoid problems throughdiplomacy and mutual cooperation especially in Central Asia. On the other hand Beijing is tryingto gain support of other regional powers in order to increase its power and change internationalpolitical environment to multi polar system. In this context, regional cooperation organizations 8 Chung, Chieng peng. “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: China’s Changing Influence in Central Asia” The China Quarterly, 9 John Z.
Wang, “Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement: A Case Study of a New Terrorist Organization in China”, International Journal of OffenderTherapy and Comparative Criminology which provides suitable atmosphere for negotiation and diplomacy, are the best way for China toreach their aim. Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is the product of this politicalinterpretation. Goals Main sources and goals of foreign policy of China and policy of Beijing towards Central AsiaPragmatism which is one of these characteristics has been one of the most important reasons foreconomical development of China, allows Beijing to establish mutual interest based relations withother states. Other important characteristic of Chinese foreign policy; nationalism has been usedas the main factor in order to maintain internal stability and public support for foreign policies.Multilateralism as the last important characteristic of Chinese foreign policy provides opportunityfor Beijing to cooperate with other powers in order to increase its power in economical, securityand political means. Another aim Chinese foreign policy is to creating a modern and strong military.
Hard power still is the most important aspect of political power in current neo-realist internationalenvironment. Consequently, Beijing needs a strong and modern military in order to increase itsinfluence area, defend its territorial integrity and deal with new security threats. Balancinginfluence of United States in both Pacific and Central Asia, being strong in Taiwan dispute, havingdeterrence effect on territorial disputes are the concrete aims of military modernization of Beijing.
According to neo Realist theory, security is in the first rank of hierarchy of interests and actors canmake cooperation with others in order to reach common foreign policy goals.10 Beijing tries torealize some foreign policy goals through benefits of abovementioned sources. These sources areeffective instruments for Beijing in order to reach its goals. These goals are sustaining domesticstability and its territorial integrity through avoiding interference of external forces of its internalaffairs, modernizing their military in order to defend their own interests, increase influence ofChina in world politics and finally being a regional power. These goals are the keys of being amore prosperous, dominant and influential actor in world politics.
11 Foreign policy of China towards Central Asia is a sub branch of Chinese foreign policy. Therefore,policy of Beijing towards this region has every characteristic of general Chinese foreign policy.Maintaining territorial integrity through dealing with separatist elements in Xinjiang, increasingits influence in the region through economy and limiting existence of United States which 10 Amalendelu Misra, “Shanghai 5 and The Emerging Alliance in Central Asia: The Closed Society and Its Enemies,” Central Asian Survey 11 Yongnian Zheng, Discovering Chinese Nationalism in China, Modernization, Identity and International Relations, (Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press 1999) constitutes an obstacle for increase of China are the main pillars of Chinese foreign policy towardsCentral Asia. SCO is the most important element in Chinese foreign policy on reaching its goalsin the region due to “three evils” concept, cooperation on economy and energy and limiting UnitedStates presence in the region. SCO members want status quo in the region to be protected.Therefore, they interpret every move aiming to chance current situation as against their interestsand try to prevent them through using “nonintervention to domestic affairs” disclosure.Democratization and increase of human rights standards can cause instability in the region becauseof lack of democratic culture in the region. On the other hand autocratic administrative cadres ofSCO member states do not want to lose their seats through democratization movements.
Therefore,SCO objects Western understanding of human rights and democratization processes in the regionand it interprets them as intervention to domestic affairs of the states. 12 12 Dmitri Trenin, “Russia and Central Asia, Interests, Policies and Prospects”, Central Asia, Views from Washington, Moscow and Beijing,Eugene Rumer, Dmitri Trenin, Huasheng Zhao, (United States: M.E. Sharpe, 2016) Conclusion SCO is also an important tool for China in terms of balancing and limiting United States in CentralAsia. SCO has put noninterference domestic affairs of the states to the core of the organization andcolored revolutions are interpreted as violence of this principle. Therefore, China gets support ofSCO members in any kinds of colored revolution.
On the other hand, military exercises withinSCO are clear indicators of the organization’s increasing weight in the region. In the other handIran key point, which has very bad relations with United States, as observer member to theorganization is another important initiative of China in order to challenge policies of United Statesin their area of influence. SCO has been affected by needs and policies of China and it has actedas a very beneficial instrument for Beijing in its policies towards Central Asia. It can be said thatChina is the most beneficiary member of the organization in comparison with other members.
Evenname of the organization and location of secretariat are the indicators of importance of theorganization for China. Beijing has gained important benefits through organization both in political,security and economical fields. SCO is the main instrument of China in the West which givessuitable atmosphere to China in order to realize their targets. All in all, SCO is a beneficialinstrument for China today, it is a question mark if it can continue its importance in the future.SCO cannot be a powerful and solid instrument for China if Beijing puts new goals to its foreignpolicy. It can be foreseen that Beijing will look for a greater influence in world politics in globallevel when it will complete its economical a military evolution.
In this case, SCO cannot playglobal role and answer demands of China, because of internal problems of the organization.Attitude of Russia in case China becomes a global power is unknown. Therefore, SCO is abeneficiary tool for existing foreign policy goals and have made great contributions, however it isnot suitable for further moves.