Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the 16th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, June 24, 2016. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)
Chinese President Xi Jinping has put forward a five-point proposal Friday for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to consolidate unity and mutual trust, and deepen comprehensive cooperation.[Special coverage]
Speaking at the 16th SCO Council of Heads of State meeting in Uzbek capital Tashkent, Xi hailed the remarkable achievements of the regional bloc since its establishment 15 years ago.
The first of the achievements is that the SCO has advocated and put into practice the pioneering Shanghai Spirit, which features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development, said the Chinese president.
Moreover, Xi noted that members of the SCO have worked to build political mutual trust and firmly supported each other's independent choices of development path.
The SCO countries have also deepened their cooperation greatly in trade, business, finance, energy and transportation, among other areas, Xi said.
The SCO has signed the Treaty of Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, codifying into law the aspiration of enduring friendship.
In addition, the Chinese president noted, the organization has actively reached out to others with an ever-growing circle of friends. As last year's Ufa summit initiated the process to take in new members for first time in SCO history, the international influence of the organization has kept increasing with its full members and observers accounting for nearly half of the world's population.
Proposing for future development of the SCO, Xi urged all members to firstly carry forward the Shanghai Spirit, which has been regarded as the bloc's undergirding value.
The SCO should remain open and transparent without targeting any third party, engage all like-minded international partners in wide-ranging cooperation and act as a constructive force for the healthy development of the international order, said the Chinese leader.
Secondly, the SCO should continue to prioritize security and cement this foundation of the SCO development, said Xi, adding that it needs to beef up the institutional construction for cooperation on combating terrorism and drug trafficking.
Thirdly, Xi proposed that the SCO should expand practical cooperation and find greater space for SCO development, expressing his hope that the organization will play an active role in aligning the Belt and Road Initiative and the other members' development strategies.
Fourthly, the SCO also needs to enhance culture and people-to-people foundation as the bridge for future development, Xi said, adding that China is willing to support other member states in restoring historical sites and archaeology studies, as well as communication and cooperation in such fields as youth, health care and environmental protection.
Last but not the least, the SCO should continue to uphold openness and inclusiveness and get more parties on board for SCO cooperation, Xi said. He also proposed that the member states take the process of accepting India and Pakistan as new members to enhance institutional building of the SCO and expand and deepen cooperation in various fields.
The annual summit, hosted by Uzbek President Islam Karimov, was also attended by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.
The SCO leaders agreed to remain committed to maintaining peace, boosting development and consolidating their relationship of equality and mutual trust, based on the principles of mutual respect, good-neighborliness and friendliness.
They pledged to deepen effective cooperation in wide-ranging areas and contribute to the security, stability and sustainable development in the region.
The leaders reaffirmed their support for the China-proposed Silk Road Economic Belt initiative and decided to take actions to continuously implement the initiative, thus promoting regional economic cooperation among the member states and integrating their respective development strategies.
The leaders said they will advance their cooperation in transportation infrastructure construction, push for the building of international transportation corridors and hubs that link Asia and Europe, and deepen cooperation in areas including economy and trade, industrial capacity, energy, investment, agriculture, culture, science and technology, and environment protection.
The leaders of the SCO reached consensus on maintaining the maritime legal order in accordance with the principles of international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). All disputes on this matter should be resolved by peaceful means through friendly negotiations and consultations by parties concerned, the leaders said, who also opposed the internationalization of the disputes or any external interference.
They also urged all relevant parties to abide by the UNCLOS and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), as well as all clauses contained in the follow-up guideline on implementing the DOC.
The leaders agreed that the SCO has become an effective factor in guaranteeing security, stability and sustainable development in the contemporary system of international relations.
The SCO leaders voiced support for consolidating the core role of the UN in international relations, improving global governance mechanism based on the purpose and principles of the UN Charter, and addressing major international and regional issues by upholding the positions of non-alignment, non-ideologicalization and non-confrontation.
They also agreed to cooperate closely to crack down on terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as cross-border organized crimes, modern IT-related crimes, and illegal drugs manufacturing and trafficking.
The summit has decided that the next SCO summit will be held in Kazakhstan's capital Astana as Kazakhstan will take over the SCO rotating presidency from Uzbekistan.
The leaders signed the Tashkent declaration on the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the SCO as well as several resolutions to approve an action plan of the SCO development in next five years, and the working reports of the SCO secretary-general and the organization's anti-terrorism institution.
The leaders also witnessed the signing of the memorandums of obligations for India and Pakistan to join the SCO, which is a key step for the two countries to obtain membership of the organization.
Founded in 2001, the SCO has six full members, namely China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and six observers -- Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan.