In his recent address during the 22nd Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Member States, Chinese Premier Li Qiang reflected on the founding aspirations of the SCO and emphasized the organization’s commitment to regional autonomy and resilience against external interference.
Preserving regional autonomy
Chinese Premier Li Qiang underscored the primary objective of the SCO, which is to ensure that regional affairs are decided by regional countries through consultation without interference from those outside the region. This foundational principle remains central to the SCO’s mission, fostering regional cooperation and security.
Building a security barrier
Li called upon member states to jointly establish a security barrier within the region, asserting the importance of resolutely resisting external interference. The pursuit of a secure environment is crucial to the SCO’s efforts to promote cooperation and stability among its member nations.
Consensus at the SCO summit
Li highlighted the significant progress achieved during the SCO summit in July, including the identification of key tasks in carrying forward the “Shanghai Spirit” and the establishment of a more closely integrated SCO community with a shared future. He expressed China’s willingness to collaborate with all member states to implement the spirit of the summit.
Key principles for success
President Xi Jinping’s address at the Samarkand summit last year emphasized the necessity of upholding principles such as political trust, win-win cooperation, equality between nations, openness, inclusiveness, equity, and justice. These principles are seen as pivotal to the SCO’s growth and development.
Looking to the future
Li encouraged SCO members to maintain their founding aspiration and uphold key principles. Guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for all of humanity, member states should work together, make mutual achievements, and advance cooperation in various fields to contribute to peace and development regionally and globally.
Proposals for deepening cooperation
Li presented four proposals to deepen SCO cooperation:
- Strengthen regional security by rejecting external interference, enhancing security threat response mechanisms, and combatting terrorism, separatism, extremism, and transnational organized crimes.
- Promote economic recovery, improve transportation systems, boost trade and investment liberalization, and maintain stable industrial supply chains.
- Enhance Belt and Road cooperation, aligning it with member states’ development strategies, focusing on major economic corridors, and developing the SCO Development Bank.
- Promote understanding and amity among the people of SCO member states by deepening cooperation in areas like education, culture, tourism, and sports.
The meeting was attended by leaders from several member states, including Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, India, and Pakistan. Belarus and Mongolia, as observer states, were also represented.
The meeting was hosted by Kyrgyz Prime Minister Akylbek Japarov.
Commitment to the “Shanghai Spirit”
Participants at the meeting affirmed their commitment to preserving and promoting the “Shanghai Spirit” that underlies the SCO. Since its inception 22 years ago, the SCO has continually evolved and expanded its global influence.
Shared goals and resolutions
The leaders agreed to implement the consensus reached at the meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO. This includes joint efforts to combat terrorism, separatism, extremism, and transnational organized crimes, as well as strengthening cooperation in various sectors, such as the economy, trade, transportation, agriculture, energy, finance, technology, and environmental protection. Moreover, they emphasized the importance of Belt and Road cooperation, infrastructure connectivity, and people-to-people exchanges.
Institutional building and multilateralism
The leaders also committed to strengthening the institutional foundations of the SCO, practicing genuine multilateralism, and working together to safeguard regional security, promote regional prosperity, and contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable international system.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Premier Li Qiang and other SCO member state leaders signed and issued a joint communique and approved a series of SCO cooperation documents and resolutions spanning various areas, including economy, trade, railways, and institution building. These outcomes reaffirm the organization’s dedication to achieving its goals and enhancing cooperation among member states.