Published: 09:36, September 17, 2022 | Updated: 12:11, September 18, 2022
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Xi urges SCO to strengthen cooperation
By Cao Desheng in Beijing and Xu Wei in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

President Xi Jinping and other leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member countries pose for a group photo before attending the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Sept 16. 2022. (LI TAO / XINHUA)

President Xi Jinping has called for Shanghai Cooperation Organization countries to strengthen solidarity and cooperation amid volatile changes in the international landscape, uphold true multilateralism and work together to improve global governance to ensure the international order is more just and equitable.

Xi made the remarks in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Friday when delivering a speech at the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO. The meeting concluded on Friday with a declaration and four statements on upholding international food and energy security as well as secure, stable and diversified supply chains, and responding to climate change.

Leaders of the SCO member states signed a memorandum of obligations on Iran's SCO membership during the meeting. The meeting also launched the procedure for Belarus' accession, and also admitted Bahrain, the Maldives, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Myanmar as new dialogue partners. It adopted the Comprehensive Plan for the Implementation of the SCO Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation for 2023-2027.

President Xi Jinping said that the SCO should brave the turbulence of the international situation, keep abreast of the trend of the times and boost partnerships to advance the building of an even closer SCO community with a shared future

Addressing the meeting, Xi said that the SCO, as an important positive force in international and regional affairs, should brave the turbulence of the international situation, keep abreast of the trend of the times and boost partnerships to advance the building of an even closer SCO community with a shared future.

The SCO should remain firm in safeguarding the United Nations-centered international system and international order based on international law, practice the common values of humanity and reject zero-sum games and bloc politics, Xi said.

"Obsession with forming a small circle can only push the world toward division and confrontation," Xi said.

He called on the SCO countries to increase support for each other, expand security and development cooperation, strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges and uphold multilateralism.

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Xi said that the SCO countries should intensify high-level exchanges and strategic communication, deepen mutual understanding and mutual political trust, and support each other's efforts to safeguard their security and development interests.

"We should guard against attempts by external forces to instigate 'color revolution', jointly oppose interference in other countries' internal affairs under any pretext, and hold our future firmly in our own hands," he added.

In terms of security cooperation, Xi called on countries to stay true to the vision of a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture as well as implement the China-proposed Global Security Initiative to address the peace deficit and global security challenges.

He stressed the need for SCO members to carry out joint anti-terrorism exercises and severely crack down on terrorism, separatism, extremism, drug trafficking as well as cyber and transnational organized crimes. "We should effectively meet the challenges in data security, biosecurity, outer space security and other nontraditional security domains."

Saying that "delivering a better life for people of all countries in the region is our shared goal", Xi called on SCO countries to pursue the China-launched Global Development Initiative, which aims to focus global attention on development, foster global development partnerships, and achieve more robust, greener and more balanced global development.

He stressed the importance of better protecting international food and energy security, saying that China will provide developing countries in need with emergency humanitarian assistance of grain and other goods worth 1.5 billion yuan ($214 million).

Xi also underscored the need to speed up regional economic integration, and called for ensuring implementation of the road-map for SCO member states to expand shares of local currency settlement, better develop the system for cross-border payment and settlement in local currencies as well as work for the establishment of an SCO development bank.

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Next year, China will host an SCO ministers' meeting on development cooperation and an industrial and supply chains forum, and will set up the China-SCO Big Data Cooperation Center to create new engines of common development, Xi said.

To promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges, Xi said China will build a China-SCO ice and snow sports demonstration zone and host SCO forums on poverty reduction, sustainable development and sister cities next year.

In the next three years, China will carry out 2,000 free cataract operations in SCO member states and provide 5,000 human resources training opportunities for them, he added.

Speaking of the development of the SCO, Xi said that China supports advancing the organization's expansion in an active yet prudent manner. "An increasing number of countries have applied to join our SCO family. This fully demonstrates the power of the SCO's vision and the widely shared confidence in its future."