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Chinese President calls for staying on the path of vision for greater development

The current president of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), India, hosted the 23rd meeting of the Council of Heads of State on July 4. During the occasion, Iran was admitted as a full member of the SCO, and the memorandum of obligations on the membership of Belarus was also signed.

The SCO is an intergovernmental organization founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001. It currently comprises eight Member States (China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan), four Observer States interested in acceding to full membership (Afghanistan, Belarus, and Mongolia), and six “Dialogue Partners” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Turkey). In 2021, Qatar and Saudi Arabia became dialogue partners.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a keynote address under the theme, “Staying True to Our Founding Mission and Advancing Unity and Coordination to Realise Greater Development”. Ten years ago, Xi noted that mankind is living in a global village that is increasingly becoming a community with a shared future in which everyone’s interests are closely interlinked.

Since then, the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind has gained extensive recognition and support from the international community, and has been transforming from an idea to action, and a vision to reality. At the forefront of this trend is the SCO.

The organization has embraced the development philosophy of innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared growth, synergized its members’ national development strategies and regional cooperation initiatives, and nurtured new growth areas for cooperation in economy and trade, connectivity, energy, agriculture, finance, and innovation.

The SCO has carried forward the spirit of good-neighbourliness, and advocated equality, mutual learning, dialogue, and inclusiveness between civilizations. It has also called for peaceful coexistence and harmonious development of different civilizations and expanded people-to-people and cultural cooperation.

The SCO must remain highly vigilant against external attempts to foment a new Cold War or camp-based confrontation. It must resolutely reject any interference in the members’ internal affairs and the instigation of “colour revolutions” by any country under whatever pretext.

Second, the SCO should maintain regional peace and safeguard common security. Sustaining peace and security in this region is a common responsibility. President Xi promised that China stands ready to work with all sides to implement the Global Security Initiative, promote the settlement of international disputes through dialogue and consultation, and encourage political settlement of international and regional hotspots, so as to forge a solid security shield in the region.

Xi urged SCO to help crack down hard on the forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism, drug trafficking, and cyber and transnational organized crimes. The organization should move faster to strengthen the mechanisms for law enforcement and security cooperation and expand cooperation in the nontraditional security fields, including digital, biological, and outer space security.

Third, SCO should focus on practical cooperation and expedite economic recovery. Promoting economic growth is a common task for all countries in the region. China stands ready to work with all sides to implement the Global Development Initiative and oppose protectionism, unilateral sanctions, and the overstretching of national security.

SCO needs to enhance the connection of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with the development strategies of various countries and regional cooperation initiatives. It should further promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, speed up the development of port infrastructure and regional and international logistic corridors, and ensure the stable and smooth functioning of regional industrial and supply chains.

China proposed that the SCO should scale up local currency settlement between member states, expand cooperation on sovereign digital currency, and promote the establishment of an SCO development bank, among other platforms and programmes of cooperation.

Fourth, the SCO should strengthen exchanges and mutual learning and forge closer bonds between its people. All nations in the region aspire to see the harmonious development of different civilizations and welcome all sides to work together to implement the Global Civilization Initiative, promote inclusiveness and coexistence among all civilizations, and increase mutual understanding and friendship among all nations.

The SCO should further deepen cooperation in education, science and technology, culture, health, sport and media, support the work of non-official organizations such as the SCO Committee on Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, and organize more events for people-to-people exchanges.

Fifth, the SCO should practice multilateralism and improve global governance. All countries in the region pursue fairness and justice. President Xi appealed to the group to advocate the common values of humanity, uphold the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law, and oppose hegemonism and power politics.

The Chinese people rallied behind the Communist Party of China to pursue Chinese modernization. It is the modernization of a huge population, of common prosperity for all, of material and cultural-ethical advancement, of harmony between humanity and nature, and of peaceful development. These main attributes, it has created a new form of human advancement. China hopes to share new development opportunities with SCO members and all countries around the world through its achievements in modernization, and together make the world a better place.

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