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Strategic Role of China in Strengthening the Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO)
Speech by H.E. Yao Jing (February 27, 2018)

I am delighted to attend the seminar on SCO challenges and opportunities. Let me first thank CGSS for the excellent arrangements you have made for this seminar. But more importantly I would like to appreciate CGSS in initiating such an important seminar and inviting so many distinguished guests and scholars across the region to discuss the role of SCO.

This year marks the 17th anniversary of SCO and the first year after Pakistan and India became the new members of the SCO. By now, the eight SCO members have a population of half of the world population, an area of 3/5 of the whole Euro-Asia, and a GDP of nearly 20% of the world total. Though the global situation is undergoing such profound changes, SCO itself is growing in strength. By firmly upholding the Shanghai Spirit, the SCO has established a new model of international relations based on mutual respect, fairness and justice and win-win cooperation.

At this new juncture, how should SCO go into the future? How should it play a more constructive role to address the common challenges of the region? How should each country make its own contribution to it? These are some of the questions deserves more serious deliberation. Just now, General Zubair Mahmood Hayat made a very good speech with a strategic view of the current global and regional situation. It enlightens to us to think about our cooperation under the SCO framework to jointly safeguard our common interests.

Today, I’d like to share my views on the role of China in Strengthening the Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO).

As the founding member of SCO, China is willing to, together with all parties, promote the building of community of shared future, a common home of security, stability, development and prosperity. At the SCO Astana Summit June 2017, President Xi Jinping reached important consensus with all parties on consolidating solidarity and mutual trust, strengthening security cooperation, docking development strategies, deepening people-to-people and cultural exchanges and other aspects.

Generally, China has put forward the following proposals as five pillars of cooperation:

First, consolidate solidarity and coordination. China thinks that all member states should deepen political mutual trust, increase mutual support, enhance exchanges and cooperation between legislative bodies, political parties and in the judicial fields, and build a community of shared future featuring equal treatment, mutual support, and sharing of weal and woe as well as safety and danger. The Chinese side proposes to draw up a 5-year outline for the implementation of the Treaty on Long-term Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation of the SCO Member States.

Second, jointly tackle challenges. SCO members are all facing security challenges. China supports the implementation of the SCO Convention on Combating Extremism, advocates strengthening the building of regional counter-terrorism institutions, and proposes to hold a defense security forum and formulate a three-year program of cooperation to combat the "three forces".

As peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan is imperative to the peace and security of the region, China calls upon all parties to support it, and expects the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group to play a more active role in it. We also should strengthen the mechanism construction of law enforcement and security cooperation, and enhance cooperation in combating drugs and cross-border crimes.

Third, deepen practical cooperation. China and relevant parties are actively advancing the integration between the "Belt and Road" construction and regional cooperation initiatives as the construction of Eurasian Economic Union and other national development strategies like the "Bright Road" of Kazakhstan.

It is China's suggestion to gradually put in place institutional arrangements for regional economic cooperation, and we may begin with a SCO trade facilitation agreement. For greater connectivity between regional countries, China supports the opening of the cross-border routes on schedule as prescribed in the Agreement between the Governments of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on Creating Favorable Conditions for International Road Transportation. China welcomes non-SCO countries in our region to join the Agreement, and endorses the formulation of a plan for coordinated development of roads among SCO member states.

To mobilize more resources and driving force for practical cooperation under the SCO framework, China supports the establishment of a mechanism for sub-national cooperation and has vigorously promoted SME cooperation by its initiatives of economic think-tanks alliance and e-commerce alliance of the SCO. China suggests that we fully utilize the existing platforms to raise finance for SCO projects, while at the same time exploring at the expert level possible ways to establish the SCO development bank. China also encourages financial institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road Fund and the SCO Interbank Consortium to provide more financing support for connectivity projects.

China will host the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai this year. It is a major initiative and action by China to promote trade liberalization and open up its market to the world. SCO members including Pakistan are more than welcome to take part in the Expo, and China will provide you with assistance and facilitation.

Fourth, enhance people-to-people and cultural bonds. We should build the SCO "family consciousness" and continue strengthening exchanges and cooperation in such areas as education, science and technology, culture, health care, environmental protection, sports, tourism, youth and locality. China is willing to, together with all parties, continuously well operate the SCO University, and well hold the youth exchange camp and the summer camp for primary and middle-school students. China will host SCO cultural and art festival events, and launch a "China-SCO cooperation program in human resources development". China also suggests setting up a mechanism for media cooperation, and would like to host the first SCO media summit.

Fifth, uphold openness and inclusiveness. Openness has been a defining feature of the SCO since its inception. China supports the SCO in carrying out cooperation of various forms and in a broad range of areas with its observer states and dialogue partners as well as other countries, and in further reviewing the applications from the related countries for legal status in the SCO in accordance with its regulations and the principle of consensus. China stands for more exchanges and cooperation between the SCO and the United Nations and other international and regional organizations, in a joint effort to promote lasting peace and shared prosperity in the world.

Ladies and Gentlmen,

At the end of last year, the Communist Party of China successfully convened its 19th National Congress, and outlined an ambitious blueprint for building China into a great modern socialist country which is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of this century.

General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized that, the Communist Party of China strives for both the well-being of the Chinese people and progress of the entire humankind. He also declared to the world that in the new era, China will stay committed to peaceful development and to a win-win strategy of opening up. China has the resolve and confidence to explore a way of building a great country, that is different from the one followed by the traditional powers.

The mission of China's diplomacy in the new era has been identified, that is to work with all other countries to forge a new form of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation, and to build a community with a shared future for humankind. China will align its own development and integrate its security with that of regional countries to jointly build a neighboring community of shared future with the SCO countries. The path of good-neighborly and friendly relations as well as the common development we followed together will be definitely broader.

China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners. Bilateral cooperation in various fields has maintained developing momentum. We have a good tradition in coordinating in regional and international affairs. China welcomes Pakistan to become a full member of SCO and is willing to continue intensifying coordination and communication with Pakistan within the SCO, helping Pakistan to adapt itself to SCO rules, better using the SCO platform to promote security and development. China is willing to, together with the Pakistani side, well implement the major projects on infrastructure construction, and steadily push forward cooperation in production capacity, jointly address trade imbalance.

Ladies and Gentlmen,

China has an ancient saying, "A pagoda can be piled up with grains of sand, and a mountain can be formed with heaps of stones." We are ready to work together with SCO member states and regional countries to meet challenges and promote regional stability and prosperity while sharing development opportunities. We do not treat any regional cooperation framework as a geopolitical tool. This year, China is the rotating presidency of SCO and will host the SCO Qingdao summit in June. We need contributions from all member countries to make the Summit a full success. I am sure that when China, Pakistan and other SCO member countries work with common purposes and an unrelenting spirit, we will write new and brilliant chapters for SCO cooperation.

Thank you.

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