Shanghai Cooperation Organisation - Relations With The West

Relations With The West

Western media observers believe that one of the original purposes of the SCO was to serve as a counterbalance to NATO and the United States and in particular to avoid conflicts that would allow the United States to intervene in areas bordering both Russia and China. And although not a member state, the President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has used his speeches at the SCO to make verbal attacks against the United States.

The United States applied for observer status in the SCO, but was rejected in 2006.

At the Astana summit in July 2005, with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq foreshadowing an indefinite presence of U.S. forces in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, the SCO urged the U.S. to set a timetable for withdrawing its troops from SCO member states. Shortly afterwards, Uzbekistan asked the U.S. to leave the K-2 air base.

The SCO has made no direct comments against the U.S. or its military presence in the region; however, some indirect statements at the past summits have been viewed by the western media as "thinly veiled swipes at Washington".

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