Experts urge western countries to understand "Shanghai Spirit"

China Plus/CGTN Published: 2018-06-11 20:39:09
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Various observers are suggesting the rest of the world could be taking a lesson from the concept that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has been formed under the "Shanghai Spirit."

Serving as the SCO's principle for internal affairs, the "Shanghai Spirit" features "mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultations, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development."

In his speech at the now-concluded SCO Summit in Qingdao on Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the continuation of the "Shanghai Spirit" to surmount difficulties, defuse risks and meet challenges.

Sourabh Gupta, a senior researcher with the Institute for China-America Studies, a U.S.-based think tank, says that "Shanghai Spirit" is the fundamental basis behind the SCO's success.

"This organization is built on the same principle as the United Nations, sovereign equality of countries, countries cooperating with each other. And the agenda is not set by the big powers only. It's a grouping of major middle and small countries. And each of them shares equally in the burdens and its benefits. This is essential, and vital and very, very important," says Gupta.

Stephen Perry, chairman of Britain's 48 Group Club - a UK advocacy group for trade with China - suggests other countries should be learning from the concepts of the "Shanghai Spirit."

"What is happening in Asia particularly inspired by China is the concept of economic development on a sustainable basis, working collectively with other nations and sharing the wealth. The emphasis is more on sharing in Asia than in the west. So as we go forward, I think the 'Shanghai Spirit' is a very important issue for the west to look at and understand. I think the 'Shanghai Spirit' will give a great opportunity for SCO to be successful as an organization that adjusts itself according to how even the small countries feel," says Perry.

Ahmad Hashemi, a senior American researcher of Middle East studies, says the SCO may change the dominant status of voices from developed countries.

"As we see some people now are talking about [the SCO] another model of EU, European Union in the east, another model of NATO, another model of G7. So again what we can see is the diversification of trade and commerce and interactions and different voices. So for the last couple centuries, the world was Eurocentric, Euro-American, but now we are witnessing that another voices are being heard, another countries are becoming great again," says Hashemi.

The SCO Qingdao Summit is the first meeting for the group since its expansion.

It was established in Shanghai in 2001, with China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as its founding members.

India and Pakistan joined the organization during the Astana Summit a year ago.

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