Dazzling against the city skyline of Qingdao, fireworks lit up the faces of guests who traveled across the vast Eurasian continent to the coast of the Yellow Sea for the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, on Saturday night.
It is the first such summit since the organization's expansion in June 2017 when India and Pakistan joined as full members.
"Qingdao is a famous international sailing capital. It is from here that many ships set sail in pursuit of dreams," said President Xi Jinping at a welcome dinner Saturday evening. "The Qingdao summit is a new departure point for us. Together, let us hoist the sail of the Shanghai Spirit, break waves and embark on a new voyage for our organization."
The Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development, was stated in the Charter of the SCO, a comprehensive regional organization founded in 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and later expanded to eight member states.
This weekend Xi will chair the summit for the first time as Chinese president, which is attended by leaders of other SCO member states and four observer states, as well as chiefs of various international organizations.
The event is reminiscent of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) held two months ago though the guests are different.
On April 10, Xi addressed the opening ceremony of the annual conference of the BFA, attended by more than 2,000 people.
In Boao, Xi unveiled new measures for expanding reform and opening up and heralded "a new phase of opening up" for common prosperity of both China and the world.
The same spirit of openness and inclusiveness has continued in Qingdao, Shandong, the home province of Confucius.
"An integral part of Chinese civilization, Confucianism believes that 'a just cause should be pursued for the common good' and champions harmony, unity and a shared community for all nations," Xi told the guests. "Its emphasis on unity and harmony has much in common with the Shanghai Spirit."
At the summit participants are encouraged to gain consensus on building a community with a shared future for humanity and building a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation, said State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi when briefing the media last week.
The two concepts have been catchphrases of Chinese diplomacy over the past five years. Though, they are not mere catchphrases, but ideas backed with pragmatic initiatives and concrete diplomatic moves.
With the BFA conference hailing reform and opening-up and the SCO summit promoting regional security and cooperation, China will host another two major international events this year -- the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit to advance the Belt and Road Initiative, and the China International Import Expo for further market opening.
"With the growth of national strength and international influence, China is more confident in raising new ideas on global governance," said Professor Zuo Fengrong with the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. "China's initiatives are aimed at an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity."