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China prepares to push Shanghai Group against the West

On July 3, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Putin attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Astana.

On July 3, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Putin attended the SCO Summit in Astana. Image source: AFP

China is seeking to strengthen its leadership over a growing group of countries it sees as a potential check on the U.S.-led world order.

Leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states met in Kazakhstan last week, with President Xi Jinping calling on strategic ally Russia and other partners to “firmly support each other.”

The organization was established in 2001 by Beijing and Moscow as an economic and security organization whose members include India, Pakistan and several Central Asian countries. Last year it expanded to include Iran, and this year it welcomes Belarus. The Astana talks come ahead of this week’s NATO summit in Washington, where the Western military alliance is celebrating its 75th anniversary and reaffirming its support for Ukraine. In stark contrast, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s joint statement made no mention of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

As China assumes the annual rotating chairmanship of the SCO, analysts expect China will work to integrate the two new members and strengthen cooperation across their broad responsibilities, thereby strengthening its leadership position in the alliance.

“The Shanghai Cooperation Organization has increasingly defined itself as an alternative vision of world order, alongside the traditional postwar order led by the United States and other Western powers,” said Bates Gill, senior fellow for Asian security at the U.S. Office of National Statistics Asia Studies. .

The EU’s expansion into new members may be seen as responding to repeated calls from China and Russia for their vast region to resist Western influence.

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