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Remarks by State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan At the Welcoming Banquet Celebrating the Inauguration Of the Secretariat of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

15 January 2004

2004/01/16

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government, heart-felt congratulations on the inauguration of the Secretariat of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and my warm welcome to all distinguished guests present at the ceremony.

The establishment of the Secretariat as a permanent body responsible for the SCO's daily operation is a major event in the history of the SCO and is of much significance for the SCO's growth and for the promotion of friendship and cooperation among its members and its external exchanges.I am confident that, under the leadership of Mr. Zhang Deguang, the first Secretary-General of the SCO, and with vigorous support from its member states, the Secretariat will perform its functions fully, work in an efficient and pragmatic manner and make due contributions to SCO endeavors.As the host country, China will provide all necessary assistance and facilities to the work of the Secretariat.

In light of the changing global and regional situation, SCO's six member states, namely China, Russia, Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan,made a strategic choice in launching the Shanghai Cooperation process in the interest of maintaining regional peace and stability and expanding mutually beneficial cooperation.In the past eight years, this process has been in constant development with confidence building in the military field in border areas, the establishment of the "Shanghai Five" and the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.At present, a relatively full-fledged organizational structure and legal framework for the SCO have been put in place and the organization has started multi-faceted cooperation with a special focus on security and economic issues.It has also gradually forged ties and carried out exchanges with other regional and international bodies.Its notable achievements in these areas have drawn attention from the international community.

Practice has proved that the SCO is playing an increasingly important role in promoting good-neighborliness and mutual trust among its member states, safeguarding regional security and stability and strengthening regional cooperation.The "Shanghai Spirit" advocated by the SCO featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, coordination,respect for diverse civilizations and common prosperity, and the new type of state-to-state relationship, the new security concept and mode of regional cooperation that the SCO explores and practices can offer important ideas and reference for the establishment of a new international political and economic order which is democratic, fair and just.

The progress the SCO has made is the result of the concerted efforts of its six member states.The SCO needs to carry out further exchanges and dialogues with other countries and international organizations.We can expect that the SCO will continue to hold high the banner of peace and become a positive force for regional and world peace, security and stability.It will continue to stand for equal consultations and mutually beneficial cooperation and become an effective mechanism for close cooperation among the six member states and greater regional development and prosperity.It will maintain its openness by vigorously expanding dialogue and cooperation and become a constructive force on the international stage.China is ready to join all other member states in making unremitting efforts to this end.

Thank you.

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