Xi to deliver important speech at SCO Council of Heads of State meeting: Mao Ning

Xi to deliver important speech at SCO Council of Heads of State meeting: Mao Ning

BEIJING, June 30 (APP): China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday announced that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s attendance at the 23rd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) via video link would further strengthen cooperation to counter heightened geopolitical confrontations.

President Xi will deliver important remarks at the meeting and, together with other participating leaders, chart the course for the future growth of the organization. With the concerted efforts of all sides, the SCO will achieve greater progress and boost development and prosperity in regional countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.

The spokesperson also outlined China’s expectations for the upcoming summit, saying that in a world marked by change and disorder and fraught with increasing instability, uncertainties and unpredictable factors, regional countries as well as other members of the international community are looking to the SCO to play a bigger role in safeguarding regional security and promoting common development.

As a founding member, China views the SCO as a priority in its foreign affairs. We stand ready to work with other members to act on the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, build an even closer SCO community with a shared future, and usher in a brighter future for the Eurasian continent, said Mao.

India is the chair nation of this year’s summit of the SCO Council of Heads of State, and its external affairs ministry said on Tuesday that heads of state of all members were invited. Defense and foreign ministers from member states attended in-person meetings in India earlier this year.

The upcoming SCO summit is to be held as Iran becomes the newest member of the SCO, which marks the SCO coordination mechanism ushering in a new development phase, Zhao Huirong, an Eastern European studies expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Iran’s ambassador to India Iraj Elahi said in March that the process of Iran acquiring membership in the SCO will be completed at the upcoming summit in India, according to Indian media reports.

In September 2021, the 21st summit of the SCO leaders held in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe announced the decision to start admitting Iran as a full member of the organization. Belarus, another observer country, is reportedly set to start the process of becoming a member of the SCO during the meeting.

The SCO, guided by the Shanghai Spirit, has continuously consolidated good neighbourliness and political mutual trust between member states and played an important and constructive role in international and regional affairs, analysts said, expressing expectations that the upcoming SCO meeting will inject impetus into regional development amid increasing threats.

The Eurasian region has recently faced a severe security deficit after the Russia-Ukraine conflict began in 2022 with increasing threats to traditional and non-traditional security fields. For example, the heightened confrontation between Russia and the US has intensified geopolitical competition, terrorism remains active in the region, and climate change and food issues concern regional countries.

All these topics will be discussed during the summit, Cui Heng, a lecturer at the China-Shanghai Cooperation Organization training base for international judicial exchanges and cooperation, told the Global Times on Friday.

How to ensure efficiency within the SCO as its membership grows will also be a topic that may be discussed by the member states, Cui said.

Zhao noted that SCO member countries will push forward cooperation in four major fields – security, economic development, people-to-people exchanges, and political cooperation. Member states have reached a consensus on fighting terrorism, extremism and separatism and will further promote pragmatic cooperation in the field.

They will also pay attention to food, energy security, the stability of supply chains and facilitation of trade, said Zhao, noting that some new documents in the above fields are expected to be made during the meeting.

The Shanghai Spirit, which undergirds values and guidelines for the SCO, featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations, and pursuit of common development, is consistent with the pursuits of new developing countries and has been well-accepted by them.

The SCO coordination mechanism has brought concrete benefits to member states and observer states and through cooperation on security and other fields, countries can find consensus and shared interests to avoid misunderstanding or escalation of conflicts, which is conducive to regional peace and stability, said Zhao.

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