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Strengthening Shanghai Cooperation Organization Through Unity, Mutual Support and Joint Response to Challenges

Statement by H.E. Xi Jinping President of the People's Republic of China At the 15th Meeting of the Council of the Heads of State of The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States

2015/07/10

Ufa, 10 July 2015

Dear Colleagues,

It gives me great pleasure to come to the beautiful city of Ufa to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit. Let me thank our host, the Russian Federation, for its meticulous preparations and hospitality. We also applaud Russia for its effective work in the past year to promote SCO cooperation in various fields, which has laid a solid foundation for strengthening the SCO.

Since the last summit in Dushanbe, SCO member states have worked together to respond to changing developments through closer coordination and mutual support. Efforts have been intensified to maintain security and stability in our region. Mutual interests and cooperation among member states have expanded. The influence and cohesiveness of this organization continue to grow. On the other hand, given the fluid international and regional landscape, the convergence of the three forces and mounting downward pressure on the economy of countries in the region, our region faces multiple difficulties and challenges in promoting security, stability and economic growth. And we should not be overly optimistic about the general external environment of the SCO.

We need to move faster and take more concrete actions. We have reached a new departure point. We should, guided by the SCO Development Strategy Towards 2025, make the SCO cross new thresholds and make it an anchor and driver for promoting stability and development of the countries in the region.

First, we should follow the Shanghai spirit to build a community of common destiny. Featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respecting diverse civilizations and seeking common development, the Shanghai spirit has over the past 15 years underpinned the SCO's development and represents the trend in contemporary international relations.

Fifteen years on, the Shanghai spirit is still highly relevant. We should continue to observe it and other principles governing international relations championed by the SCO. We should uphold international equity and justice, promote multilateralism and openness, respect each other's interests, refrain from interfering in other country's internal affairs, settle disputes through peaceful means and seek common development and prosperity with a win-win approach. We should carry forward the Shanghai spirit in our region and make it an inspirational bond bringing member states together in our endeavor to build a community of common destiny and promote harmony in our region.

The painful lesson of war should never be forgotten. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the World Anti-Fascist War and the founding of the United Nations. All SCO member states endured the test of blood and fire of World War II and contributed to the final victory with enormous sacrifice. After this summit, we will issue a declaration commemorating the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War and World War II and make a joint call for peace. We will continue to be a staunch force for upholding the victorious outcomes of World War II and never allow anyone to distort history or undermine peace.

On behalf of China, I take this opportunity to pay deep tribute to all those who fought fearlessly and made the ultimate sacrifice for the noble cause of justice during World War II. I also extend my heartfelt appreciation to all the countries and foreign friends who supported the Chinese people in their struggle against Japanese militarist aggression.

Second, we should strengthen capabilities to uphold security in our region. Upholding security and stability in our region is a common concern for all member states. The SCO has the responsibility to prevent instability, forestall the spread of terrorist and religious extremist ideologies and stop forces with hidden agenda from undermining peace and stability in our region.

We should enhance policy consultation and coordination, study ways of responding to challenges and work together to uphold the government, system, security and stability of SCO member states.

We should respond to new developments in Afghanistan, strengthen security cooperation with Afghanistan, help Afghan security forces build capacity, and play a bigger role in promoting national reconciliation and economic reconstruction in Afghanistan.

We should take strong measures to advance counter-terrorism, drug control and defense cooperation, increase SCO security operation capacity, and strengthen the network of law enforcement cooperation. We should, on the basis of the Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure, accelerate the building of a center for responding to security challenge and threat and enhance drug control functions of the SCO. This will be an urgently needed and effective step for the SCO to meet security challenges. China welcomes the signing of the Border Control Cooperation Agreement among member states, as this will improve the legal basis for SCO security cooperation and ensure border stability of member states. And China is ready to speed up study and drafting of the Anti-Extremism Convention of the SCO with other member states.

Third, we should tap potential for cooperation and enrich practical cooperation. To seek new growth areas and improve people's livelihood is a major task for SCO member states. On the basis of promoting mutual benefit, the SCO should encourage its member states to create more cooperation opportunities and strive for early harvest in regional economic cooperation.

We should take even bigger steps to promote trade and investment facilitation and liberalization. It is important for us to expand trade volume, improve trade structure, adopt common measures, and harmonize business, customs, quality inspection and transport policies.

Transport infrastructure connectivity is a priority area and important basis for enhancing regional cooperation. The SCO member states should take an active part in the formulation of the SCO Plan for the Coordinated Development of Roads, and accelerate the implementation of the Road Transport Facilitation Agreement. China is ready to step up cooperation with other member states, carry out agreed connectivity projects on a priority basis, provide funding support for the feasibility study and planning of projects, and participate in investment and financing cooperation of the design and construction of projects. In the next few years, we will build 4,000 kilometers of railways and over 10,000 kilometers of roads, thus basically forming a regional connectivity architecture.

To conduct cooperation in investment, production capacity, equipment and infrastructure development between member states is important to fostering new growth areas and creating more jobs. China has reached cooperation agreement with Kazakhstan and other countries in this area. The member states may leverage complementary strengths, carry out joint production on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, and introduce such products to the international market. China will work for the establishment of cooperation zones in each member state and deepen production capacity cooperation on the basis of market operation.

To establish the SCO development bank is a strategic measure to promote multilateral cooperation within the organization, and it has far-reaching significance for its future development. We should keep working on it and set up an SCO financing platform at an early date, so as to support multilateral inclusive financing projects and economic development of various countries. China is ready to use financing platforms such as the Silk Road Fund and the China-Eurasia Economic Cooperation Fund to meet the investment needs of SCO member states. We should give priority to investment cooperation in major infrastructure projects, resource development, and industrial and financial cooperation in accordance with the List of Measures by the SCO to Further Promote Project Cooperation 2017-2021.

China is implementing a plan to train 2,000 personnel for SCO member states in three years. It will also provide technical assistance in industrial planning, project feasibility study, consulting and other areas to help member states bolster capacity-building.

We should enhance communication on energy policy, and introduce specific measures for enhancing cooperation on security of transnational oil and gas pipelines. We need to expand trade in agricultural produce and foster cooperation in agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery to ensure food security. China will continue to train agricultural technicians for member states with its own fund to improve agro-technology and grain production of member states. China proposes the formulation of an SCO scientific and technological partnership program and the establishment of a platform for sharing information on environmental protection. We will work with other member states to fully leverage the role of SCO Entrepreneurs Committee and the Inter-Bank Consortium.

With the positive response and support of all parties, the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt proposed by China is well underway. We hope that this initiative and the development plans of member states will complement each other; and we will work with relevant countries to form synergy between this initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union so as to advance the balanced development of Eurasia.

Fourth, we should increase understanding between our peoples and foster enduring friendship. The ancient silk road bears testimony to the profound friendship of our peoples. We should carry forward the silk road spirit and enhance public support for our friendship. With mutual trust and respect between our peoples, we will be able to build a harmonious, peaceful and prosperous homeland.

China supports expanding the scope of people-to-people exchange and deepening communication and cooperation in areas such as culture, education, health, tourism, sports and media. To boost youth exchange, China will, in addition to providing training for young leaders from member states, host an SCO youth exchange camp in China for five consecutive years starting from 2016 with 200 young people participating annually. Last year, 198 middle and primary school students from Tajikistan were invited to join a summer camp program in China. This year, 200 middle and primary school students from our host city Ufa will visit China. By 2018, China will have hosted summer camps for 2,000 middle and primary school students from SCO member states.

In 2014, over 100 million overseas visits were made by people from China. Russia and Uzbekistan are both now tourist destinations for Chinese citizens. We are ready to share with other member states the immense economic opportunities created by Chinese overseas tourists, and hope that they will streamline visa procedures for Chinese citizens.

China supports greater judicial exchange and cooperation among SCO members and will assist other member states in training judicial personnel through the China-SCO International Judicial Exchange and Training Center.

China supports enhanced cooperation among SCO members in areas such as disaster relief, epidemic prevention and treatment and facilitation of people-to-people exchange. We will discuss with other member states ways of boosting cooperation in traditional Chinese medicine and measures to streamline procedures for visa application and work permit.

Fifth, we should boost the growth of the SCO with an open mind and through mutual learning. After this summit, the SCO will launch the process of admitting India and Pakistan as new members. We also welcome Belarus as an observer state and Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal as dialogue partners to the SCO. China believes that their participation will inject fresh vitality into SCO cooperation across the board.

We need to support the SCO in expanding its contacts with other organizations and forging closer ties and cooperation with the UN, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia and other international and regional multilateral mechanisms to benefit more from mutual learning.

We need to study ways to strengthen cooperation with observer states and dialogue partners and improve relevant dialogue and cooperation mechanisms, so that observer states and dialogue partners will benefit more from the SCO through drawing on each other's strengths and sharing the fruits of development.

Dear Colleagues,

It is my conviction that by upholding the Shanghai spirit and acting with unity and mutual support, we will surely enable the SCO to grow from strength to strength and make new strides in a new historical stage.

Thank you.

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