BEIJING, Jan 5 (APP):China’s veteran diplomat, Zhang Ming has assumed charge as new secretary general of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), one of the world’s largest political and economic groupings.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Wang Wenbin during his regular briefing held on Wednesday confirmed the appointment, describing Zhang as an experienced diplomat who was capable of pushing the development of the bloc.
“According to SCO rules and as approved by the Council of Heads of State of the SCO, Zhang Ming has assumed the role of secretary general of the SCO for the term of three years from January 01, this year,” he added.
The appointment makes Zhang the first Chinese head of the group since Chinese diplomat Zhang Deguang left office in 2006.
Zhang, until recently China’s ambassador to the European Union (EU), is a veteran diplomat with rich experience in multilateral diplomacy.
The spokesperson expressed the confidence that like his predecessors, he will achieve the new progress and added, as the host country of the SCO secretariat, China will continue to support the work of the SCO secretariat and the secretary general.
Zhang will be based in Beijing, at one of the group’s two headquarters – the other is in Uzbekistan – after last month leaving his posting in Brussels having served a single four-year term.
He will take over as SCO secretary general from Vladimir Norov, the Uzbek who had held the role since 2019.
Spanning large swathes of Eurasia, the SCO includes countries that account for 40 per cent of the world’s population and almost a quarter of global gross domestic product, making it second only to the United Nations in scale.
The other members are Pakistan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia have observer status, while Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey are dialogue partners.