How Overseas Experts Reviewed the SCO Qingdao Summit?
The 18th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) concludes on Sunday in Qingdao, a coastal city in east China’s Shandong Province. It has covered the fields of political, economic, security, mechanism building and people-to-people exchanges. This was the first SCO summit since India and Pakistan were accepted as full members in June 2017 at the Astana summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired the meeting and delivered a speech titled “Carrying Forward the Shanghai Spirit to Build a Community of Shared Future”.
It has evoked a lively debate among think tank experts and media at home and abroad. China International Publishing Group (CIPG) conducted exclusive interviews with some of them. Let us see what they have to say:
German Official: China is the defender of free trade
President Xi Jinping demonstrated again his commitment to Globalization and free trade at the SCO Summit in Qingdao. This is no surprise – in recent times he has been the most vociferous defender of free trade. And once again his voice was very important, as the world is still hamstrung by the failure of the G7 summit and President Trump’s stubborn fight against globalization. So it is comforting that the SCO Summit joined with President Xi in firm opposition to protectionism, and in favour of deeper mutual cooperation and the Belt & Road Initiative.
——Former director of the European and international affairs division in the German state of Hesse, Dr. Michael Borchmann
American Scholars: China to encourge regional cooperation
President Xi Jinping’s speeches at the SCO Summit provided a calm juxtaposition to US President Trump’s blustery demeanor and behavior at the G-7 Summit. It demonstrated China’s crucial leadership role in both trade and global governance. Xi offered a subtle, yet sharp, rebuke of Trump’s antiquated, anti-globalist, and protectionist approach to trade and tariffs by rightly condemning those who would engage selfish, short-sighted trade policies. Xi was able to offer a vision that the SCO was one of both consensus and cooperation, again emphasizing a point that he has made often: that it is a win-win proposition to support multilateral trade and an open global economy.
Additionally, President Xi’s five-point plan to expand the role of the SCO by encouraging regional cooperation, common development, mutual security, and shared prosperity was a very important story missed by most of the Western media who were caught up in the turmoil of the G-7 Summit. Xi’s call to promote the “Shanghai Spirit” by promoting a new type of international relations by fostering mutual respect, all-around cooperation, and common development will have long-term implications given China’s role, the sheer size of the SCO, and its membership.
——Jon R. Taylor, Professor of Political Science at the University of St. Thomas
Russian Expert: The SCO community of shared future proposed at the Qingdao Summit
In my opinion, the central theme of President Xi Jinping’s speech to the SCO Qingdao Summit lies in the following sentence: “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 trends of both the world and our times.” The Chinese leader is different from the leaders of other countries – he undertakes long-term planning and looks to the future. “Achieving the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation by 2049” was proposed in 2012. Over the past 5 years, the goal has inspired fruitful progress. Through these results Xi was able to demonstrate the validity of this goal to his SCO partners. With the opportunities brought by the SCO, the goal is more than timely, although the world is changing swiftly.
The second key point from Xi’s speech is that he calls for upgrading cooperation among the SCO member states to a level similar to the G7, effectively transforming the SCO into the S8. To this end, Xi proposed: “We should, guided by the Shanghai Spirit, work closely to build an SCO community of shared future, move toward a new type of international relations, and build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.” The SCO community of shared future proposed at the SCO Qingdao Summit is based on the global community of future proposed at the Nineteenth National Congress of Communist Party of China. This theory is of great importance in actively promoting the development of globalization and it is quite specific in nature. The Qingdao initiative will undoubtedly play an important role at the BRICS meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa. The SCO is a regional, Eurasian cooperation organization, while the BRICS include members from Eurasia, Africa, and South America. The Chinese Dream has gained new momentum since “the global community of shared future” was proposed, and can become the common dream of people all over the world.
——Yuri Tavrovsky, Professor of Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia
Thai Scholar: China and other SCO countries are joining together is “a good thing for the world”
Having Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a tremendous opportunity for both China and the world. After its establishment in 2001, the number of active members, observer countries, and partners has been increasing every year. Currently, SCO is a well-rounded community for international cooperation that weighs an important role in the world economy.
As a community, the SCO accounts for 20% of global GDP and approximately 50% of the world’s population. The totally area of its member countries covers 60% of Eurasia land. The SCO is becoming even stronger after India and Pakistan joined in 2017 and attended its first full membership meeting at the SCO summit in 2018 in Qingdao, China.
Joining SCO membership will be an opportunity for member countries themselves, other countries, and the world as a whole. That is to say: China, Russia, and other member states joining the collaboration under SCO is a change of the Eurasian realm from a difficult and low stable part of the world to become stable, strong, prosperous, and ready to open for contact, trade, learn, and visit exchange. The fact that China and other SCO countries are joining together is “a good thing for the world”.
——Ms. Yuwadee Kardkarnklai, Vice President, Klangpanya Institute for National Strategies, College of Government, Rangsit University
Mexican Scholar: The SCO has put forward solutions to international disputes
Chinese President Xi Jinping has regularly captured worldwide attention in recent years with a series of remarkable achievements in economic reform, anti-corruption, and defense of national sovereignty. He has also promised that China will promote world economic growth and international cooperation.
In democratic policies, he performs well in emphasizing the importance of an open international economy, in opposing trade protectionism, and in promoting harmony and unity in Asia.
During his speech at the opening banquet in Qingdao, President Xi Jinping communicated a position to us that was open and equal. He proposed to apply Confucianism in the SCO, with the goal of strengthening cooperation among the SCO member states. In my view, the idea applies not only to the SCO member states, but also to the world as a reference, to maximize cooperation and mutual understanding among all countries.
——Dr. Juan Eugenio Izquierdo, Director Institucional del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social
Chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping, this summit has achieved remarkable results and brought new hope to a world that is experiencing many complex international problems. Tariffs and other barriers to free trade in the United States carry a constant threat of trade war. Through the efforts of Xi Jinping and the Chinese government, the members of the SCO have made progress in industrial technology and social structures by pursuing more peaceful approaches and international cooperation. The SCO has put forward solutions to international disputes caused by those who want to curb globalization and maintain isolationism.
——Mauro Jimenez, head of Mexican Macroeconomic Magazine and former press spokesperson of President of Mexico
Editors: Dong Lingyi, Cai Hairuo