The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as an international cooperation platform, has gained in importance for Belarus’ security policy. Amid stagnating cooperation within the Commonwealth of Independent States, the SCO value for Belarus’ external security policy is likely to continue to grow.
On May 28th-31st, the chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission of the People’s Republic of China, general Li Zuocheng, visited Belarus. During meetings with Belarus’ military leadership, the parties discussed bilateral cooperation between the defence departments within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Earlier, on May 15th, Kyrgyzstan hosted the 14th meeting of the SCO National Security Council Secretaries. It was preceded by a meeting of SCO Defense Ministers on international and regional security matters and strengthening security cooperation. The only non-SCO member state represented at the meeting was Belarus.
Formally, Belarus is not a full member of the SCO. However, this does not hamper her full-fledged participation in SCO activities on security matters. Minsk’s special status within the SCO is guaranteed by Beijing. Given that Russia’s influence in the SCO is balanced by China, India and Pakistan, that the bilateral dialogue on security matters between Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan is developing at a good pace, and that Belarus-Pakistan cooperation has good prospects, the importance of SCO for Belarus’ military policy will only increase.