Deputy Secretary-General – Maintaining Regional Stability Is SCO Priority
Mr. Wang Kaiwen, the deputy secretary-general of the SCO, noted that the original aspiration of the SCO was to promote peace, cooperation and friendship among the member states.
The 18th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will be held in Qingdao, Shandong Province, on June 9-10, 2018. This is the second important event of China’s home diplomacy this year.
Δ On June 2nd, on the eve of the SCO summit, a book titled An Ink Painting of The Silk Road was launched, and a related art exhibition was held in the Network Center of International Cultural Exchange. Following the geographic order of the New Eurasian Continental Bridge, this book focuses on exchanges between the member states of the SCO, whose territory stretches from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.
Δ During the launch event, China Focus interviewed Mr. Wang Kaiwen, the deputy secretary-general of the SCO.
The coming summit will be the first since the SCO extended its membership. The heads of the eight member-states will gather to hold a discussion about plans for future development. A series of documents concerning cooperation will be signed and released.
Established on June 15th, 2001, the SCO – a permanent inter-governmental international organization – is relatively young. But it has matured and extended its influence in the international community over the intervening 17 years.
Mr. Wang explained that the reason why the SCO has achieved such success is that all the member states uphold its core values – the Shanghai Spirit – which includes common ideals such as “mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultation, respect for cultural diversity, and aspiration for common development”. Expressed in 20 Chinese characters, the Shanghai Spirit is the core of the SCO.
At the coming summit, new initiatives in many areas will be proposed to enrich and promote the Shanghai Spirit.
The Starting Point
Mr. Wang maintained that to have a good understanding of the SCO, one should turn to the international situation in the 1990s. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Shanghai Five mechanism, the predecessor of the SCO, was established to promote mutual trust concerning military border issues among five states – China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
In 2001, the heads of these five states and Uzbekistan had a summit meeting which marked the establishment of the SCO. In 2017, India and Pakistan became new members.
Mr. Wang noted that the original aspiration of the SCO was to promote peace, cooperation and friendship among the member states.
Following its founding, because of the relatively volatile international situation and the potential threat posed by terrorists, racial extremists and religious extremists, the SCO focused on security cooperation among the members. However, cooperation in areas such as the economy, finance, and people-to-people exchanges has become increasingly significant.
According to Mr. Wang, after 17 years there are now 28 cooperation mechanisms involving different levels and different departments.
Cooperation in some areas has moved fast, while progress has been slower in other areas. However, all the member states have reached consensus on many issues.
The first priority is to ensure stability and peaceful development.
Nothing will be achieved without peace and stability. The greatest value of the SCO is its ability to ensure regional stability.
The second is to promote economic cooperation.
According to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce of the PRC in May, in 2017, the value of trade between China and other members of SCO reached $ 217.6 billion, year-on-year growth of 19%. China’s exports increased by 15.1% to $150.3 billion, and imports grew by 28.5% to $ 67.3 billion.
Mr. Wang observed that the eight member states account for 43% of the world’s total population, surpassing 3 billion. As the most dynamic region in the world in terms of economic development, the SCO contains the world’s largest energy producer and energy consumer. From this perspective, future prospects for economic and financial development are bright.
At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum held in May this year, Rodion Alimov, the general secretary of the SCO, said that the average growth rate of the members GDP was 4.84% up to the end of 2016, almost double the world average.
Strengthening Mutual Trust Through People-to-People Exchanges
At the 14th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, held on September 12th 2014 in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, Premier Li Keqiang delivered a speech titled “Seeking further development of the SCO through joint efforts and sincere cooperation”. His speech emphasized the principle of promoting understanding among the peoples of the member states.
Mr. Wang contended that it is hard to achieve major successes in other areas without people-to people exchanges and mutual understanding of culture. Only by promoting understanding and mutual trust among peoples can we strengthen mutual trust between member states, to better achieve common development and successfully build a global community of shared future.
Reporter：Ning Jing, Xie Wen
Editor: Nan Zheng