QINGDAO: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit started Sunday. The heads of eight member states – China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan – as well as those of the four observer states- Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia are participating in the summit.
While addressing the 18th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the SCO, Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states to build up strength of unity and mutual trust.
The president said the SCO member states should ensure full implementation of documents including the Qingdao Declaration, and the Outline for the Implementation of the Treaty on Long-Term Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation.
The SCO member states should respect each other’s choice of development paths and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns, he said.
“We should enhance mutual understanding by putting ourselves in others’ positions and boost harmony and unity by seeking common ground and setting aside differences,” he added.
“In five days, the SCO will celebrate its 17th birthday, an occasion for us to review our organization’s remarkable journey and important achievements,” Xi said.
The Chinese President said over the past 17 years, guided by the SCO Charter and the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Between the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, members have forged a constructive partnership featuring non-alliance, non-confrontation and not targeting any third party. In doing so, the members have achieved a major breakthrough in the theories and practices of international relations, created a new model for regional cooperation, and made new contribution to peace and development in the region.
Today, he said, the SCO stands as a comprehensive regional cooperation organization that covers the largest area and population in the world. Its members account for about 20 percent of the global economy and 40 percent of its population. The SCO has four observer states and six dialogue partners as well as extensive cooperation linkages with the United Nations and other international and regional organizations. With its ever rising international influence, the SCO has become an important force for promoting global peace and development and upholding international justice and fairness.
Xi said the SCO enjoys strong vitality and momentum of cooperation. This, in the final analysis, is attributed to the Shanghai Spirit, a creative vision initiated and followed through by the SCO that champions mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations and pursuit of common development. The Shanghai Spirit, transcending outdated concepts such as clash of civilizations, Cold War and zero-sum mentality, has opened a new page in the history of international relations and gained increasing endorsement of the international community.
The Chinese President said Mencius, another ancient Chinese philosopher, aptly observed, “When Confucius looks down from the peak of the Dongshan Mountain, the local Kingdom of Lu comes into view; when he looks down from the peak of Mount Tai, the whole land comes into view.” At a time when the world is undergoing major developments, transformation and adjustment, we must aim high and look far, and keep pace with the underlying trend of both the world and our times to push for more progress of human civilization.
While hegemony and power politics still persist in this world, the growing call for a more just and equitable international order must be heeded. Democracy in international relations has become an unstoppable trend of the times, he said.
While various traditional and non-traditional security threats keep emerging, the force for peace will prevail, for security and stability are what people long for.
While unilateralism, trade protectionism and backlash against globalization are taking new forms, in this global village of ours where countries’ interests and future are so interconnected, the pursuit of cooperation for mutual benefit represents a surging trend.
“While we keep hearing such rhetoric as the clash of civilizations or the superiority of one civilization over another, it is the diversity of civilizations that sustains human progress. Indeed, mutual learning between different cultures is a shared aspiration of all peoples,” the President remarked. NNI