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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: A Cause Worth Ceaseless Efforts
Keynote Speech by Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping at the Lanting Forum
2012/05/29

29 May 2012

Your Excellencies,
Dear Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon! Welcome to the Lanting Forum. In this hall last June, I had an in-depth exchange of views with the guests on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which provided much food for thought. Today I am delighted to attend the forum again and join the discussion on the upcoming Beijing Summit and SCO's future development. I hope we can pool our wisdom and think creatively to sustain the momentum of SCO's sound and steady development.

This year marks the beginning of the second decade of the SCO. In the past 11 years of its development, the SCO has answered the call of the times, and acted upon the common interests of the people in the region. By following the "Shanghai Spirit" featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversified civilizations and pursuit of common development, the SCO has expanded and deepened its cooperation in all fields as never before. In so doing, it has become a model for countries to join efforts in deepening good-neighborly and friendly cooperation, promoting common development and prosperity, upholding regional peace and stability, and conducting dialogue among civilizations. The reasons for SCO's remarkable development in a short period of 11 years, in my view, are as follows:

First, the SCO has stayed committed to the political relations featuring equality and consultation. SCO members, big or small, are all equals and should make their decisions through consultation. It has been the fundamental principle and source of strength of the organization. Its member states have promoted cooperation through unity and pursued development through cooperation in line with the Treaty of Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation. This is the fundamental guarantee for the member states to achieve political mutual trust, solidarity and coordination.

Second, the SCO has stayed committed to the security concept that all countries are interconnected in times of both peace and danger. In the past 11 years since the inception of the SCO, the world political and economic landscape has gone through profound and complex changes. There have been continued turmoils in some regions. Hotspot issues have kept flaring up. Destabilizing factors and uncertainties in regional situation have notably increased. Against this background, the member states have embraced the new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination. By establishing an inclusive and indivisible security space, the SCO has enhanced its operation and emergency response capabilities, properly tackled all kinds of traditional and non-traditional security threats and effectively cracked down on the "three forces", drug trafficking and transnational organized crimes, making itself a pillar for regional peace and stability.

Third, the SCO has stayed committed to the approach of win-win development. As an emerging platform for regional economic cooperation, the SCO enjoys the unique advantages of geographical proximity and strong economic complementarity between its member states. The SCO cooperation is anchored in equality and mutual benefit and aimed at promoting sustainable economic development of all member states and the well-being of their people. The member states, guided by the Program of Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation, have actively promoted trade and investment facilitation and carried out sound cooperation in transportation, energy, telecommunications, agriculture and other fields.

Fourth, the SCO has stayed committed to the harmonious and inclusive dialogue among civilizations. Since ancient times, the region that is home to the SCO member states has been known as crossroads, where different civilizations intersect and converge. The member states also fostered bonds through the "silk road". Now, the SCO offers new historical opportunities for the member states to renew their traditional friendship. The member states respect each other's cultural traditions and values and have carried out cooperation in line with the principle of drawing on each other's strength, transcending differences and seeking consensus and coordinated development. In so doing, we have achieved the harmonious coexistence between civilizations and different development models.

Fifth, the SCO has stayed committed to an open and inclusive spirit. Cooperation within the SCO framework is neither targeted at nor excluding any other countries and organizations. Instead, the SCO seeks sound interaction and common progress with them. The SCO has established extensive links with countries and international organizations that endorse its purposes and principles, and worked with them to advance the noble cause of world peace and development. In the process, its international influence has continued to rise.

China has served as SCO rotating president since the Astana Summit last year. Over the past year, the member states have actively implemented the consensus of the leaders and rolled out a series of new measures to deepen cooperation in various fields under the framework of the "Year of Good-Neighborly Friendship". They have set the goal of building a harmonious region, developed a strategic plan for the next decade and improved the concrete measures to forestall and handle crises. In addition, they have made a detailed list of cooperation programs that member states can join in a flexible manner, discussed the plan to set up financing guarantee mechanisms and held over 30 events of friendly exchanges in the political, economic, trade, investment, energy, transportation, educational, cultural, health, youth, tourism and other areas.

Earlier next month, President Hu Jintao will chair the SCO Beijing Summit. This Summit will take place at a crucial moment when the SCO is to build on its past achievements, and chart the course and identify the approach for the future development. With the support and collaboration from all sides, China has full confidence in making the Summit a success. I believe the Beijing Summit will bring China's SCO presidency to a successful conclusion.

With the concerted efforts of all sides, this year's Summit is expected to produce fruitful results, which can be summarized as follows:

First, build on the past and plan for the future. The Beijing Summit will further identify the direction for SCO's development and major tasks for the next decade and adopt the Strategic Plan for the Medium-Term Development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in accordance with the consensus reached at the Astana Summit. It is no exaggeration to say the adoption of this document will have far-reaching influence on SCO's development.

Second, deepen cooperation for win-win results. Significant outcome documents will be adopted in all cooperation fields. In the political field, we will adopt the Declaration on Building a Region with Lasting Peace and Common Prosperity, which will be the first political document of the SCO themed on building a harmonious region. In the security field, the amendments to the SCO Regulations on Political and Diplomatic Measures and Mechanism of Response to Events Jeopardizing Regional Peace, Security and Stability will be adopted, which will considerably boost SCO's ability to prevent and tackle emergencies. In the economic field, the member states will reach new consensus on establishing multilateral financing guarantee mechanisms and speeding up transportation facilitation.

Third, keep the SCO open and expand the dialogue. The upcoming Summit will review the issue of accepting Afghanistan as an observer state and Turkey as a dialogue partner. It testifies to the continued expansion of the SCO, increasing cooperation with other countries in the region and stronger capacity to participate in regional and international affairs.

Fourth, conduct bilateral interactions along with multilateral cooperation. Several leaders of SCO member states and observer states attending the Summit will pay visits to China before and after the Summit. This speaks fully to the sound political relations between China and these countries and the strong aspirations of both sides for greater cooperation. It will lend new impetus to the development of bilateral relations between China and relevant countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the SCO further enhances its institutional building and cooperation in various fields, the member states and the international community have even greater expectation for its future development. The future direction in which the ship of the SCO will sail is also a topic of much discussion and deserves careful study and consideration. And I would like to share with you some of my observations on the future development of the SCO.

The international and regional situations are undergoing persistent and complex changes. As the underlying impact of the international financial crisis lingers on, world economic recovery will be difficult and tortuous. West Asia and north Africa are still in turmoil. External factors have given rise to the resurgence of the "three forces". Peace, stability and development of the region is faced with real threats. Given the new and grave situation, it is imperative for the member states to enhance mutual trust, strengthen cooperation, and make long-term planning.

To sustain the healthy and steady development of the SCO in the next ten years, I believe we should make efforts in the following areas:

First, turn the SCO into an organization of unity and high-degree of mutual trust. As SCO member states are neighbors to each other, we are bound to develop long-term cooperation, establish enduring friendship and live in harmony. We have reached a high degree of consensus on the general direction of SCO's development, and all of us hope to maintain stability through collective efforts. As long as we follow the spirit of the Treaty on Long-term Good-neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, make good use of the SCO consultation mechanisms, have candid communication with mutual understanding and mutual accommodation, we are sure to solve various difficult problems, and ensure that the Organization will always serve the common interests of the member states and move forward along the set direction.

Second, make the SCO a reliable organization of sincerity and mutual assistance. While peace and development is the call of the times and the common aspiration of the people, uncertainties and destabilizing factors in international and regional situations have also been prominent. In face of the daunting tasks of upholding the sovereignty and security of member states, the SCO should make active response, firmly support the member states and do its share. The SCO should implement the cooperation program for combating the "three forces", further strengthen joint law enforcement and comprehensive regulation and control, and fight against cyber crime, so as to safeguard the stability of its member states.

Third, make the SCO an organization striving for common development through result-oriented efforts. In order to keep the Organization full of vitality, the SCO has to associate itself with the interests of the people. It should work to meet the development needs of the member states, and to improve the lives of the 1.5 billion people of the member states and bring benefits to them. In the next decade, the SCO will usher in an important development period in its regional economic cooperation. We will push for in-depth cooperation across the board in an all-round way, promote the sustainable growth of economy, and improve the wellbeing of all peoples.

We will conduct cooperation in all areas that are closely related to the social and economic development, including the modernization of industrial infrastructure and energy facilities, urban development, agricultural development and social security. We will advance scientific R&D, share educational, cultural, health and disaster relief resources and environmental protection technologies, and further promote capacity-building in the region.

We will vigorously develop transportation and logistics. We will build a land route from west to east linking St. Petersburg with Lianyungang and a road network that connects all the member states, so as to enable SCO countries to share outlets to the sea in a convenient and low-cost way.

We will establish a development bank to increase financing channels for domestic and multilateral projects of the member states, jointly fend off financial crises, and collectively participate in and shape the international financial system. In the next ten years, China will continue to inject fund into the SCO special account and the development bank, and will continue to provide concessional loans and assistance to other member states.

Fourth, build an open organization of mutual learning and common progress. The SCO should persistently advocate democracy and harmony in international relations and seek win-win cooperation in economic globalization. We hope to see that more countries will embrace and abide by the "Shanghai Spirit". The principle of consultation-based consensus will continue to be the basic norm of the Organization. And the SCO will maintain its nature as an organization for non-alliance and non-confrontation. We will make the SCO play an exemplary and leading role in the efforts to build a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a member state of the SCO, China will as always stay committed to the development of the Organization. In this process, China will also firmly pursue the diplomatic policy of "building a good-neighborly relationship and partnership with neighboring countries", and advance its opening strategy of mutual benefit. In so doing, we will work with all the other SCO countries to tackle challenges and share development opportunities, making fresh contribution to achieving the goal of durable peace and common prosperity in the region.

In conclusion, I wish to once again express my thanks to all the diplomatic envoys, experts, scholars and representatives of various sectors present today. I sincerely hope that you will continue to share with us your deep insight and actively participate in and promote the development of the SCO. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China is ready to stay in close contact and conduct candid exchanges with all of you.

Thank you!

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