Aside from a famously bland brand of diplomatic rhetoric, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization represents the only major Eurasian club that caters to both Russian and Chinese interests. Yet with Moscow and Beijing presenting visibly divergent visions for economic cooperation in Central Asia, it is unclear how those competing views can be reconciled.
The differences were on full display at an annual SCO Forum of government-affiliated experts, hosted this year by Kyrgyzstan’s National Institute of Strategic Studies on June 23. It was the ninth such SCO Forum, and it took place under markedly different circumstances from last year’s gathering in Beijing. The SCO comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
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Chris Rickleton is a Bishkek-based journalist.