The China-proposed six platforms of cooperation for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) have tremendous potential and will boost regional development within the framework of the bloc, said overseas experts and scholars.[Special coverage]
When presiding over an SCO prime ministers' meeting in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang proposed that the SCO establish six platforms for cooperation in areas including security, production capacity and connectivity.
The other three platforms he mentioned at the 14th SCO prime ministers' meeting, which concluded Tuesday, are financial cooperation, regional trade cooperation and cooperation on social affairs and improving people's lives.
Denis Berdakov, a Kyrgyz political scientist and economist, said the platform for security cooperation is a guarantee for development and will help SCO member countries strengthen communication and cooperation in fighting terrorism and extremism.
Despite the high level of security cooperation among the SCO members, the regional bloc should make more efforts in jointly countering terrorism due to the complicated situation in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Central Asia, he said.
Therefore, he noted, all the SCO members are looking forward to the implementation of an agreement on border defense cooperation and negotiations on an anti-extremism pact proposed by Li.
On the establishment of a platform for production capacity cooperation, Berdakov said it is a good opportunity for Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian nations, which will help his country usher in a new stage in industrialization and infrastructure construction.
Akram Zaki, a seasoned Pakistani diplomat, said Li's proposal on production capacity cooperation is an important achievement at the SCO prime ministers' meeting.
The mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation is conducive to the realization of the objectives on economic development as expected by the SCO members and observers, said Zaki, who is also a former ambassador to China.
In the opinion of Banzragch Munkhtuul, director of the Mongolian newspaper Mongolyn Medee, regional economic development will greatly benefit from infrastructure construction, which he said can promote inter-connectivity among the SCO members.
As many of the member countries, observers and dialogue partners of the bloc are located along the China-proposed Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, or the Belt and Road Initiative, their need for infrastructure improvement will accelerate regional economic development, he said.
Regarding Li's proposal on the establishment of an SCO e-commerce alliance, Munkhtuul said countries in the region have huge potential in developing e-business, adding that China can play a greater role in this area.
Mohammad Taqi Hashimi, a professor at Ghazni University of Afghanistan, said that as a major founding member of the SCO and the second economic power in the world, China can help Afghanistan achieve lasting peace and security by investing in economic projects in the country and by influencing other countries in the region.
"In my opinion all the SCO members, especially China, can facilitate Afghanistan to embrace durable peace and security by investing in development projects to create job opportunities. Lasting peace in Afghanistan can benefit the whole region including China," he said.
Describing terrorism, extremism and separatism as common threats to the region, he said the region, particularly Afghanistan, has suffered hugely from terrorism, adding that the SCO could help curb the evil force by promoting economic development, peace and stability in Afghanistan through the facilitation of trade and economic activities.
Vladimir Dmitriev, chairman of Russia's Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs, said the alignment of the Silk Road Economic Belt with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) will inject a fresh impetus into the development of the Eurasian region, including that of the SCO member states.
"The Silk Road Economic Belt, which links China with Europe, has a broad prospect in areas of investment, transportation, energy and logistic infrastructure," he said.
"Russia stands ready to closely work with China in these areas, and to develop pragmatic channels to realize the ambitions of the initiative," Dmitriev added.
Andrei Ivanov, a senior fellow at the Center for East Asia and SCO Studies with the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, said Li's proposal covers nearly all areas that are crucial for regional development and may have a far-reaching influence for expanding integration within the framework of the SCO.
"The stepped-up efforts of the SCO member states will permit the bloc to become stronger and play a more active role in the world," Ivanov said.