Xi Jinping Attends the 23rd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Delivers Important Statement
On the afternoon of July 4, 2023, President Xi Jinping attended the 23rd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) via video link in Beijing and delivered an important statement titled “Staying True to Our Founding Mission and Advancing Unity and Coordination to Realize Greater Development”.
Xi Jinping pointed out that ten years ago, in view of the changes of the world, of our times and of the trajectory of history, he put forward the notion that mankind, living in the same global village, are increasingly becoming a community with a shared future in which everyone's interest is closely interlinked. Since then, the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind has gained extensive recognition and support from the international community, and has been transforming from an idea to action and a vision to reality. At the forefront of this trend is the SCO, upholding this very concept and the Shanghai Spirit to build an SCO community with a shared future. The SCO member states have followed the fine tradition of standing together through thick and thin, as passengers in the same boat should do, and they have firmly supported each other in standing up for their respective core interests. They have become trustworthy partners on their paths to development and national rejuvenation. The SCO member states have acted out the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, accommodated each other's legitimate security concerns, and responded to both traditional and nontraditional security challenges. Together they have safeguarded peace and tranquility in the region. The SCO member states have embraced the development philosophy of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared growth, and synergized their national development strategies and regional cooperation initiatives. This has helped promote coordination in their economic development. The SCO member states have carried forward the spirit of good-neighborliness, and advocated equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness between civilizations. They have called for peaceful coexistence and harmonious development of different civilizations. The SCO member states have upheld international fairness and justice, and opposed hegemonic, high-handed, and bullying acts. They have built partnerships featuring dialogue instead of confrontation, and cooperation instead of alliance. This has strengthened the progressive forces for world peace and stability.
Xi Jinping stressed that the world today is undergoing both transformation and upheaval; changes unseen in a century are unfolding at a faster pace; human society faces unprecedented challenges. Unity or split, peace or conflict, cooperation or confrontation—these are the questions raised again by our times. Xi Jinping said his answer is this: the people's wish for a happy life is China's goal, and peace, development and win-win cooperation are the unstoppable trends of the times. The SCO member states must rise to the call of the times, keep in mind their founding mission, and stay in unity and coordination to bring more certainty and positive energy to world peace and development.
First, the SCO member states should keep to the right direction and enhance solidarity and mutual trust. Facts have shown that as long as the SCO member states bear in mind the larger picture, shoulder their responsibilities and remain undisturbed by all sorts of distractions, they will be able to protect and promote their security and development interests. The SCO member states should step up strategic communication and coordination, bridge differences through dialogue, and replace competition with cooperation. They should truly respect each other's core interests and major concerns, and firmly support each other's endeavor for development and rejuvenation. They should keep in mind the overall and long-term interests of the region, and make their foreign policies independently. The future of their development must be held firmly in their own hands.
Second, the SCO member states should maintain regional peace and safeguard common security. China stands ready to work with all sides to implement the Global Security Initiative, promote the settlement of international disputes through dialogue and consultation, and encourage political settlement of international and regional hotspots, so as to forge a solid security shield in the region. The SCO member states need to upgrade security cooperation. They should crack down hard on the forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism such as the "East Turkistan" elements, drug trafficking, and cyber and transnational organized crimes. They should expand cooperation in the nontraditional security fields, including digital, biological and outer space security. They should continue to utilize platforms such as the mechanism of coordination and cooperation among Afghanistan's neighbors, and encourage Afghanistan to embark on the path of peace and reconstruction.
Third, the SCO member states should focus on practical cooperation and expedite economic recovery. China stands ready to work with all sides to implement the Global Development Initiative, keep to the right direction of economic globalization, oppose protectionism, unilateral sanctions and the overstretching of national security, and reject the moves of setting up barriers, decoupling and severing supply chains. They should make the pie of win-win cooperation bigger, and ensure that more development gains will be shared more fairly by people across the world. Xi Jinping welcomes other SCO member states' participation in the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, saying that they should work together to broaden the Belt and Road as a "path of happiness" benefiting the whole world. China proposes that the SCO scale up local currency settlement between member states, and promote the establishment of an SCO development bank.
Fourth, the SCO member states should strengthen exchanges and mutual learning and forge closer bonds between the people. China welcomes all sides to work together to implement the Global Civilization Initiative, promote inclusiveness and coexistence among all civilizations, and increase mutual understanding and friendship among all nations. The SCO member states should further deepen cooperation in education, science and technology, culture, health, sport and media. In the coming three years, China will provide other SCO member states with 1,000 International Chinese Language Teachers Scholarships, offer 3,000 "Chinese Bridge" summer camp opportunities, and invite 100 young scientists to China for scientific research exchanges.
Fifth, the SCO member states should practice multilateralism and improve global governance. It is important to advocate the common values of humanity, uphold the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law, and oppose hegemonism and power politics. Xi Jinping stressed the need to make global governance more just and equitable, and advance modernization of the entire humanity through collective efforts to promote equal rights, equal opportunities and fair rules for all. The SCO member states should jointly promote world peace, drive global development and safeguard the international order.
Xi Jinping pointed out that the Chinese people are rallied behind the Communist Party of China to pursue Chinese modernization. China hopes to share new development opportunities with SCO members and other countries around the world through its achievements in modernization, and together make the world a better place.
Concluding his remarks, Xi Jinping stressed that a just cause finds great support, and a journey with many companions gets far. The SCO's development accords with the trend of the times and goes along with the direction of human progress. Through member states' joint efforts, the SCO will definitely grow from strength to strength.
The participating leaders spoke highly of the remarkable achievements the SCO has made in its development, welcomed Iran's formal accession to the "SCO family", and expressed the hope that Belarus would complete the procedure of joining the SCO as soon as possible. All parties noted that the SCO has grown from strength to strength with rising international influence, making important contributions to deepening good-neighborliness, safeguarding the common interests of member states, promoting enduring peace and stability in the region and the world, and advancing sustainable development. The SCO has set a fine example of mutual trust, equal-footed dialogue, and mutually beneficial cooperation. The leaders stressed the need to further promote the Shanghai Spirit, enhance mutual understanding and coordination, promote regional economic cooperation, oppose ideological confrontation, and reject division and discrimination. It is important to strengthen connectivity and the construction of a major transportation corridor in the region, support the effort to synergize the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, deepen cooperation in such fields as economy and trade, finance, energy, science and technology, environmental protection, digital economy, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and work together to address food and energy crises, climate change, and other global challenges. The leaders also stressed need to jointly crack down on terrorism, separatism and extremism to forge a solid security shield in the region, uphold true multilateralism, and support the United Nations' leading role in strengthening global governance.
Leaders of the member states signed and released the New Delhi Declaration of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, jointly issued the statement on countering radicalization and the statement on cooperation in digital transformation, and approved a series of resolutions on granting Iran full SCO membership, signing the memorandum of obligations of Belarus to join the SCO as a member state, and the SCO's economic development strategy for the period until 2030.
It was decided at the meeting that Kazakhstan will assume the SCO rotating presidency for 2023-2024.
The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India which holds the rotating presidency of the SCO. In attendance were leaders of SCO member states, including Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov, Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, leaders of observer states, namely Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, and Mongolian President Khurelsukh Ukhnaa, the Presidency's guest Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, and leaders of international and regional organizations such as UN Secretary-General António Guterres, SCO Secretary-General, and Director of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure Executive Committee, among others.
Cai Qi and Wang Yi, among others, were present at the meeting.