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Yellow Book: India and Pakistan Top Picks for the Expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

On September 5, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences issued the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Yellow Book (2014), a book which analyses the current international and regional situations that the SCO faces. The Yellow Book pointed out that, when various conditions are close to mature, China can consider discussing the expansion of the SCO with Member States and that a consensus with the member states is still needed for a number of important issues.
"First, the SCO’s legal basis should be reinforced. The rules of the game should be designed without compromising the fundamental interests of member states. The more member states, the more difficult it will be to achieve a consensus and change the rules of the game. The SCO should perfect its legal system as soon as possible so as to lay a solid legal foundation for the organization’s sustainable development."
"Second, the number of members should be expanded in stages, with a good grasp of the conditions and timing. As mentioned earlier, as the conditions mature for India and Pakistan to become SCO member states, they should be the first choices for SCO expansion. In the past, the SCO did not consider Iran. It was correct from a strategic perspective, but the SCO should maintain close cooperation with Iran, push Iran out of its ‘nuclear trap,’ and create conditions for its formal participation in the SCO."
"The SCO can also consider expanding its members to include the level of observer members, with Turkey as a candidate to be an observer member state. Turkey is a NATO member, but not an EU member. Culturally it is different from the West and is in an embarrassing situation because the West does not fully recognize it. Although it is a country with Muslims as the majority, Turkey is a secular state. Despite Turkey’s close ties with the West, It has shown quite good independence, aggressiveness, and flexibility in diplomatic affairs. Geographically, Turkey is in both Europe and Asia. It is an important gateway for China to reach Europe through Central Asia and West Asia. To include Turkey as an observer member (when conditions are mature, the SCO can absorb it as a full member) is conducive to regional stability and economic development."
"Through SCO negotiations, countries that are willing to join the SCO should accept SCO Charters and all of its founding legal documents and accept the ‘Shanghai Spirit’ advocated by the SCO. This helps the SCO maintain consistent positions on major international issues and improve operational efficiency.
The Yellow Book believes that, after gradually expanding member states, the SCO will gradually become an important platform for China to engage in regional security and economic cooperation and multi-cultural exchanges with relevant countries. The "Silk Road economic zone," stability and development in Afghanistan, energy and financial cooperation, the strike on "three forces" and other major issues will become the focus of SCO.
Source: People’s Daily, September 5, 2014