Enhance Good Neighborliness and Mutual Trust and Promote Peaceful Development
Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China the Seventh Meeting of the Council of Heads of SCO Members
Bishkek, 16 August 2007
Respected President Bakiyev,
It is a great pleasure to join you in this beautiful city of Bishkek for an in-depth discussion on the future of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as well as our region. I wish to start by thanking you, President Bakiyev, and the Kyrgyz government for the meticulous preparation and thoughtful arrangements you have made for this summit. China salutes Kyrgyzstan for the great job it has done as SCO's president for strengthening the organization over the past year.
Since its founding six years ago, the SCO has grown into an effective mechanism for promoting the common interests of its members and advancing mutually beneficial cooperation among them as well as an important force for ensuring enduring peace and common development in the region. Since last year's Shanghai Summit, further progress has been made in cooperation among members in various areas. Mutual political trust has grown, as evidenced by the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, which we will soon sign. Security cooperation has deepened and joint counter-terrorism exercises have begun to be conducted on a regular basis. Significant steps have been taken to promote economic cooperation, with important progress made in several joint projects. A number of demonstration projects in transportation, telecommunications and energy have been agreed upon. People-to-people and cultural exchanges are growing. The cooperation program in education is being implemented and a cultural cooperation agreement will soon be signed. The SCO's international standing has risen steadily. Its areas of cooperation are expanding and its cooperation partners have increased. China hails these achievements which will strengthen the foundation for SCO's long-term and steady growth.
In particular, the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation will be another milestone in the growth of the SCO. The treaty will affirm, as a legal document, the shared desire of people of SCO members to achieve enduring friendship and peace in the region and give a strong impetus to the growth of the organization. China is fully confident about its future.
Peace and development are the common pursuit of all the people. But the world is still fraught with discord and instability. Unilateralism and power politics still exist; traditional and non-traditional security threats remain grave; and economic globalization is yet to benefit many developing countries. In an international and regional environment full of uncertainties, the SCO members have maintained unity, seized opportunities and risen to challenges. We have achieved notable progress in maintaining stability, invigorating economy and pursuing development paths suited to our respective national conditions. On the other hand, the region has encountered interference and even obstructions in its development endeavor. The three forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism, narcotics trafficking and trans-national crimes remain rampant, undermining the common development of SCO members and harmony of the region. We therefore need to seize every opportunity, meet challenges, promote mutually beneficial cooperation among members and achieve common development. I propose that we take the following steps to achieve this goal:
First, earnestly implement the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation to strengthen the political foundation for SCO's long-term growth. The SCO faces both opportunities and challenges in the course of its growth. The biggest challenge facing us is to uphold the sovereignty, security and development interests of our respective countries. This concerns our vital interests, and we must maintain close consultation and coordination in meeting this challenge. We should observe the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, treat each other with sincerity, and enhance mutual understanding and trust. We should always act in the interest of peace and stability in the region, the long-term growth of the organization and the good relations among us and address any issue that might occur in accordance with the principles of SCO's legal documents.
Second, pursue common development and win-win regional economic cooperation so as to build a strong economic foundation for the organization. We should further tap economic potential by taking full advantage of our geographic proximity and economic complementarity and achieve common development by maximizing our own efforts and resources within the framework of the SCO. We should update our respective laws and regulations governing our cooperation, speed up negotiations on the international road transport facilitation agreement and the multilateral investment encouragement and protection agreement, ensure good implementation of the Program of Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation and implement demonstration projects in the three priority areas of energy, transportation and telecommunications. These efforts will boost the SCO's growth. Meanwhile, in an age of globalization, the SCO should carry out extensive international cooperation, expand external economic and technological exchanges and enhance cooperation with international financial institutions so as to integrate itself into the international market and benefit from it.
China will take steps to promote regional cooperation within the SCO framework. We will speed up the implementation of the network project agreed upon at the Shanghai Summit, a project that will involve and benefit all members. Over the next few years, China will continue to provide credit and financing to key multilateral and bilateral projects in priority areas of transportation, telecommunications and energy.
Third, promote exchanges between cultures and civilizations on an equal footing so as to consolidate the social foundation for sustaining friendship among SCO members. Our region has a long history in which different cultures and civilizations have flourished and enriched one another. The combined population of SCO members plus that of observers account for nearly half of the world total. Home to over 300 ethnic groups, the region has in the course of its history created splendid and time-honored civilizations. We should draw on each other's strength and make common progress. We should carry out exchanges and cooperation in science and technology, culture, education, sports and health. In particular, we should endeavor to boost youth exchanges.
To this end, China will, in addition to current bilateral agreements, offer 100 scholarships annually to students of other SCO members, 20 scholarships to each member.
I propose that SCO members host students camp programs on a rotating basis. As the initiator of the program, China will invite 50 college and middle school students from other SCO members to a youth camp in Hainan Province during the winter vacation period of 2008.
China encourages all SCO members to promote the teaching of other members' languages and cultures. China is ready to provide more teachers and teaching materials for the teaching of Chinese in other SCO member states. We also hope you will support the teaching of and research on the Russian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik and Uzbek languages in China.
Next year's Beijing Olympic Games will be a major global event. China will provide opportunities for other SCO members to showcase their cultures during the Games. We welcome all other SCO members to conduct cultural events concerning the Beijing Olympics.
Fourth, continue to open up to the rest of the world and deepen cooperation with other countries and international organizations to create an enabling external environment for the growth of the organization. Given the increasing international attention to the organization and particularly to central Asia, we should remain committed to peaceful cooperation and multilateralism. We should support all initiatives and efforts aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the region, growing our economies and enhancing unity and security of SCO members. China supports the SCO in speedily launching practical cooperation with observers. We also support the organization in conducting dialogue, exchanges and cooperation with all other countries and international organizations which endorse the purposes and principles of the SCO. This is in the interest of upholding world peace and making the international order more just and equitable.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization now faces both opportunities and challenges and its permanent bodies shoulder more responsibilities. Thanks to efforts made in the past year, the reform of the SCO Secretariat and Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure has been completed. We hope that the two bodies will make greater progress in improving organizational structure and legal basis, promoting practical cooperation among members and raising the profile of the organization. China will continue to support the two bodies.
I wish to reiterate that pursuing good neighborly relations and cooperation with other SCO members remains a foreign policy priority for China. China is ready to work with all of you and, following the "Shanghai Spirit", implement the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation and make unremitting efforts to achieve enduring peace and common development.