SCO to boost mutual trust and benefit

(China Daily )| Updated : 2018-06-09

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Editor's note: Three experts share their views on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Qingdao on Saturday and Sunday.

SCO to boost mutual trust and benefit

Ever since the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization 17 years ago, its member states have been working to facilitate or deepen cooperation in various fields under the "Shanghai Spirit" of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development. This has made the SCO a comprehensive regional organization representing the largest population and geographical area.

As a founding member of the SCO, China has made great contributions to the organization's development. In particular, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has taken initiatives to advance major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics both in policy and practice. Xi has attended all the meetings of the Council of the Heads of State of the SCO Member States since 2013, promoting China's policies and practices, and contributed Chinese wisdom and solutions to the SCO to boost its development, and enrich the Shanghai Spirit.

China has been promoting a new-type of international relations, featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation, and it is committed to building a community of shared future for humankind with the aim of building an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world characterized by lasting peace, extensive security, and common prosperity. China's efforts have been widely appreciated by the SCO member states, and the goals it has promoted have become the SCO's goals.

The two goals of building a community of shared future for humankind, and building an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world are, in essence, compatible with the Shanghai Spirit. But they have a higher meaning, and are wider in scope and more realistic in requirements. The "two goals" advocated by Xi regard the world as a community of shared future, and call on all countries to collectively deal with the common challenges, shoulder their common responsibilities and maintain their common interests.

That the SCO considers the "two goals" as its own goals reflects its member states' common efforts to integrate the organization's pursuit of security and self-development with the great cause of building a community of shared future for humankind, which not only sublimates the Shanghai Spirit but also sets a good example of promoting the initiatives undertaken in pursuit of the "two goals".

Promoting security cooperation is one of the original goals of the SCO and also the basis of cooperation in other areas. Xi understands the intrinsic connection between development and security, for he has emphasized that "development is the basis of security, while security is the condition for development" and "development is the key to solving all problems". This has enriched the security aspect of the Shanghai Spirit.

The overall national security concept put forward by Xi in 2014, which advocates unity between self-security and common security, the abandoning of the zero-sum game and the obsolete theory of absolute security and alliance, as well as the establishment of an inclusive national security concept. And the "common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable" Asian security concept proposed by Xi has injected the most advanced security connotation into the Shanghai Spirit.

One of the Shanghai Spirit's original goals is "seeking common development", but the path to achieve that goal has not been defined. It was during his visits to four Central Asian countries in 2013, that Xi proposed the Silk Road Economic Belt to meet the realistic demands of the Central Asian countries, in order to strengthen cooperation along the ancient Silk Road, and promote policy, traffic, trade and monetary interconnectivity and people-to-people exchanges.

For the past five years, the Belt and Road Initiative (which also includes the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road) has taken deep roots and benefited more than 100 countries. The participation of the SCO member and observer states in the Belt and Road Initiative and their efforts to synergize their development strategies with it show they have realized the initiative is the basic path to realizing common development and a practical foundation to enrich the connotations of the Shanghai Spirit.

Xi has said that the Communist Party of China is a political party working for the cause of human progress, and consistently regards making new and greater contributions for humankind as its mission. Xi has also emphasized that things in the world increasingly need to be done through consultations of all countries, and it has become an extensive consensus to establish international mechanisms, comply with international rules and pursue international justice.

In fact, Xi has taken measures to ensure China's diplomacy upholds the correct "justice and interests" outlook, values good faith, and promotes justice in international affairs, in order to make the global governance system truly fair and balanced. Within the SCO, Xi has stressed the need to maintain international justice and promote multilateralism and openness, mutual respect, mutual interest, and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, so as to make it easier to resolve differences in a peaceful way and promote common development and prosperity under the win-win principle.

Xi attaches great importance to developing global partnerships, expanding the convergence of interests between China and other countries, and enhancing global coordination and cooperation. The wide network of partnerships China has established with other countries, such as the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with Russia, all-weather strategic partnership of cooperation with Pakistan, closer partnership with India, comprehensive strategic partnership with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, and the strategic partnerships with Turkmenistan, have provided optimum institutional guarantees for deepening all-round cooperation in the SCO and promoting the Shanghai Spirit.

The ongoing SCO Summit in Qingdao, Shandong province, at which Xi chairs some vital meetings, will offer another occasion for Chinese wisdom to enrich and sublimate the Shanghai Spirit. And hopefully, the common development process of China and the SCO will not only help carry forward but also enrich the Shanghai Spirit.

The author is a research fellow at the National Academy of Development and Strategy and an associate professor at the School of International Studies, Renmin University of China.

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