BEIJING, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a six-member inter-governmental organization founded in the Chinese city of Shanghai on June 15, 2001.
Grouping China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the SCO covers a total area of 30.2 million square km, with a combined population of 1.53 billion.
It also has Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan as observers, and Belarus, Sri Lanka and Turkey as dialogue partners.
Dedicated to maintaining regional security and promoting common development, the SCO adheres to the Spirit of Shanghai, which features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development.
It has also initiated a new security concept that is based on mutual trust, mutual benefit,equality and cooperation.
The SCO has two permanent organs: the Secretariat in Beijing and the Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan.
The Council of Heads of State (CHS) is the SCO's top decision-making body, followed by the Council of Heads of Government (CHG), the Council of Foreign Ministers, the Council of National Coordinators and other mechanisms. Both the CHS and the CHG convene annually.
The SCO, which is an observer of the UN General Assembly, is the only regional inter-governmental organization founded in China, named after a Chinese city and headquartered in China.