China to push membership preference for annual Eurasia summit

China to push membership preference for annual Eurasia summit

Foreign ministers from the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will meet today in Beijing for multilateral talks.

SCO

Photo: Sputnik

Foreign ministers from the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will meet today in Beijing for multilateral talks.

Founded in 2001 by China, the SCO meets annually to discuss geopolitical issues pertaining to Eurasian security and stability. The organisation’s original members are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as members and has included India and Pakistan since 2017.

The SCO has historically dedicated itself to addressing what China has labelled the “three evils”: terrorism, religious extremism and ethnic separation. India and Pakistan were included as a way of engaging more Asian countries directly affected by the “evils”.

With Beijing’s ever apparent desire to present itself as East Asia’s leader in security and diplomacy, expect China to use this year’s summit to continue pushing for selective expansion of the organisation. China wants to retain its East Asian leadership role in the organisation, so it will not push for including states that it competes with for regional leadership like Japan and South Korea. It is more likely it will push for an elevation to member state status of states like Afghanistan and Iran, who retain observer status and are not “competitors”.