BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday addressed the 20th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Beijing via video link.
President of the People’s Republic of China
At the 20th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Beijing, 10 November 2020
Your Excellency President Vladimir Putin,
Let me begin by thanking President Putin and Russia for the thoughtful organization of this meeting. During its presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Russia has earnestly performed its duties and advanced the SCO’s sound development despite the impact of COVID-19. China highly commends Russia for its contribution.
Since its founding, the SCO has traveled an extraordinary journey. It has stood the test of time and become a major constructive force in the Eurasian region and global affairs. Committed to the Shanghai Spirit, SCO members have enhanced cooperation in the political, economic, security, people-to-people and cultural fields, setting an example for a new type of international relations that features mutual respect, equity, justice and win-win cooperation. In the face of COVID-19, we have backed each other up to tide over the difficulties together. Such solidarity has injected positive energy into both the SCO’s steady development and international cooperation against the coronavirus.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated shifts in the international landscape. The world is entering a period of turbulence and transformation. The international community now faces a major test with choices to be made between multilateralism and unilateralism, openness and seclusion, cooperation and confrontation. “What is going on with the world?” “What shall we do about it?” — These are the questions awaiting answers from the people of our time.
Ancient Chinese teachings tell us that “men of insight see the trend, while men of wisdom ride it”. Humanity lives in a global village where the interests and destinies of all countries are intertwined. People across the world increasingly yearn for a better life. The trend toward peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit is unstoppable. History has proven and will continue to prove that good-neighborliness will prevail over a beggar-thy-neighbor approach, mutually beneficial cooperation will replace zero-sum game, and multilateralism will win over unilateralism.
In the current circumstances, the SCO is required to carry forward the Shanghai Spirit and deepen solidarity and collaboration. Together, we will contribute more to the stability and development of countries in the region and take more steps toward building a community with a shared future for mankind.
First, we need to step up anti-epidemic cooperation and build a community of health for us all. Right now, COVID-19 is still presenting an ongoing threat. To fight the virus that respects no borders, we must take up the most powerful weapon of solidarity and cooperation, and rise up to the most imperative task of saving people’s lives.
We need to strengthen our joint response to COVID-19, support each other’s containment efforts, and uphold regional and global public health security. We need to support the World Health Organization’s crucial leadership role, oppose attempts to politicize the pandemic or mislabel the coronavirus, and jointly resist any “political virus”. We need to put the SCO’s health cooperation mechanisms into full use, and deepen exchanges and cooperation in epidemic monitoring, scientific research, and disease control and treatment. China proposes that hotline contacts be created between SCO members’ centers for disease control (CDCs) for timely updates on cross-border transmission of communicable diseases. The unique value and important role of traditional medicine has been highlighted in the battle against COVID-19, and we need to continue to hold the SCO Forum on Traditional Medicine to deepen exchanges and mutual learning in this field. Vaccines play a vital role in defeating the virus. China has joined the COVAX facility, and will actively consider SCO countries’ need for vaccines to help protect people’s safety and health in our countries.
Second, we need to safeguard security and stability and build a community of security for us all. Security and stability are the number one precondition for a country’s development, and thus concern the core interests of all countries. We need to act on the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, address all forms of threats and challenges effectively, and foster a sound security environment in our region.
We need to firmly support countries concerned in their law-based efforts to steadily advance major domestic political agenda, firmly support countries in safeguarding political security and social stability, and firmly oppose interference by external forces in the domestic affairs of SCO members under whatever pretexts. We need to deepen solidarity and mutual trust, and resolve disputes and differences through dialogue and consultation, in order to cement the political foundation for SCO development. It is important that we forestall terrorist, separatist and extremist attempts to exploit the pandemic for disruption, curb the proliferation of drugs, a crackdown on Internet-based propagation of extremist ideology, and deepen SCO members’ law-enforcement cooperation. It is important that we uphold bio-security, data security and outer-space security, and engage in active communication and dialogue in this field. China has launched the Global Initiative on Data Security, which aims to galvanize efforts to shape a peaceful, secure, open, cooperative and orderly cyberspace. We welcome the participation of all parties in this Initiative. The situation in Afghanistan involves security and stability in the wider region. We need to make good use of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group to help the country realize peace and reconstruction.
Third, we need to deepen practical cooperation and build a community of development for us all. True development is development for all and good development is sustainable. We need to be guided by the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development and open up more opportunities for practical cooperation to facilitate economic recovery and betterment of people’s lives.
We need to forge greater synergy of the Belt and Road Initiative with national development strategies as well as region-wide cooperation initiatives such as the Eurasian Economic Union. We need to enhance connectivity and further integrate our industrial, supply and value chains for unimpeded economic circulation in the region. We need to facilitate the reopening of economic activities through the “fast track” that steps up mobility of people and the “green lane” that quickens the flow of goods. We need to foster an open, fair and nondiscriminatory business environment for each other’s companies, and expand mutual investment among us. We need to seize opportunities from the new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation to step up cooperation in digital economy, e-commerce, artificial intelligence and smart cities. Next year, China will host a China-SCO forum on the digital economy industry in Chongqing, which will provide a platform for innovation cooperation among parties. We need to put the people first, and implement more joint projects that deliver real benefits to them. China supports setting up an SCO joint working group on poverty reduction and stands ready to share our good experience with other parties.
Fourth, we need to nourish people-to-people amity and build a community of cultural exchanges for us all. Each civilization is distinct and none is superior to others. We need to promote mutual learning between our civilizations and enhance good-neighborliness and friendship between our countries. This allows us to enhance public support for the SCO’s long-term development.
We may use various forms of communication to make the SCO’s achievements more widely known and win stronger public support for the SCO vision of cooperation. We may support the Organization’s exchanges and cooperation in education, culture, sports, media and women’s welfare, and institute an all-round, multi-channel structure of deeper cooperation. China will host an SCO non-governmental friendship forum next year, and will continue to hold SCO Youth Campus events, to which 600 young people will be invited in the coming three years, to deepen mutual understanding among the younger generation and bring them closer together.
We may better coordinate the SCO’s cooperation agenda with the necessity for a long-term fight against COVID-19. We may employ new working methods and flexible cooperation forms and keep the relevant mechanisms running effectively. The SCO Secretariat and the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure need to play their coordinating role, and SCO members need to give stronger support to the work of the Permanent Bodies.
Seventy-five years ago, our forefathers won the world anti-fascist war and founded the United Nations (UN), thus writing a new chapter in human history. Drawing lessons from the past, we need to act to champion multilateralism, improve global governance and uphold the international order. We need to follow the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and build a world where global affairs are discussed by all, the governance system built by all, and development fruits shared by all.
The SCO needs to expand its network of partnerships and conduct extensive cooperation with observers, dialogue partners, the UN and other international organizations. It should play a more active role in international and regional affairs, and stay committed to building an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.
China cannot be separated from the world in achieving development, and the world also needs China for prosperity. Now, China is speeding up efforts to foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. New mechanisms are being put in place to build an open economy of a higher standard. China will remain committed to a win-win strategy of opening-up. It will seek development impetus from the world and contribute more to the world with its own development. We welcome all parties to capitalize on China’s development opportunity and make active endeavors to deepen cooperation with China.
China congratulates President Emomali Rahmon on taking over the chairmanship of the SCO Council of Heads of State, and will give full support to Tajikistan during its presidency. Next year, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the SCO. Let us hold high the banner of the Shanghai Spirit, forge ahead with strong cooperation, strive for the better development of our Organization, and build an even closer community with a shared future for us all.