SCO countries urged to forge closer bonds

2023-10-27 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Premier Li Qiang underlined on Thursday the need for Shanghai Cooperation Organization countries to enhance regional security, accelerate economic recovery and forge closer bonds among their peoples amid global risks and challenges, in order to bring more stability to the region and the world.

Speaking at the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO member states in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Li also called for efforts to reinforce the alignment of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with the member states' respective development strategies, promote the construction of major economic corridors, and work for the establishment of an SCO development bank.

Founded in 2001 to mainly focus on regional security cooperation, the SCO has now carried out practical cooperation in more areas, including the economy and trade, connectivity and people-to-people exchanges. With nine full member states, it accounts for nearly half of the world's population and approximately a quarter of global GDP.

"It is important to join efforts to create a safe and efficient transport system, continuously promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and ensure the stable and uninterrupted functioning of industrial and supply chains," Li said.

He noted that it must not be forgotten that the original purpose of the organization is to "keep the fate of the region in the hands of regional countries, to resolve regional issues through coordination, without interference from outside".

As an example of an open and inclusive regional organization, the SCO has provided security and stability for regional countries by adhering to the "Shanghai Spirit", which features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development, experts said.

That's why SCO cooperation, different from bloc-building by some countries, has become increasingly attractive to more regional countries, including nations in the Middle East, they said.

Su Chang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that over the past years, the SCO countries have, through practical cooperation, established mature mechanisms to deal with traditional security issues such as terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as nontraditional ones such as climate change.

"This will, on the one hand, help regional countries to be better prepared for emerging risks, and on the other hand, contribute to world peace and stability with its good experience," she said.

Su added that the Belt and Road Initiative, which is in line with the "Shanghai Spirit", has brought concrete benefits to some SCO countries by turning landlocked Central Asian countries into the junction connecting Asia and Europe, and has also greatly advanced the economic development of relevant countries.

Xiao Bin, deputy secretary-general of the Center for SCO Studies at the CASS, said that the SCO countries have demonstrated that development comes from a safe and stable environment, and the organization could be a potential driving force for global economic recovery.

A dozen documents, including a joint communique and several resolutions on trade, economic and railway cooperation, were signed following the meeting.

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