On the afternoon of September 17, 2021, President Xi Jinping attended the 21st Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Beijing via video link and delivered an important speech titled “Staying True to Our Founding Mission and Forging Ahead on a New Journey of SCO Cooperation”.

Xi Jinping pointed out that since its establishment 20 years ago, the SCO, following the Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations and pursuit of common development, has endeavored to promote world peace, development and human progress, and to explore new ground, both theoretically and with actual steps, with a view to building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. We have jointly promoted political mutual trust and created a new model based on partnership and dialogue, rather than alliance or confrontation. We have jointly ensured security and stability, and firmly curb the spread of drug trafficking, cybercrime and transnational organized crime. We have jointly pursued prosperity and development, and intensified practical cooperation in our region. We have jointly upheld international justice, spoken out to advocate multilateralism and the common values of humanity, and take a fair stand against hegemony and power politics.

Xi Jinping stressed that the SCO has reached a new historical starting point. We should hold high the banner of the Shanghai Spirit, keep to the right direction in the historical trends of promoting democracy in international relations, and pursue our own development as we pursue common development for humanity. We should build a closer SCO community with a shared future and contribute more to lasting global peace and common prosperity. To this end, Xi Jinping put forward a five-point proposal.

First, we need to follow the journey of enhancing solidarity and cooperation. We should step up policy dialogue, communication and coordination, respect each other’s legitimate concerns and promptly resolve problems that may arise in our cooperation, thus keeping the SCO on a steady course of development. We should maintain firm confidence in our systems, reject condescending lecturing, and firmly support countries in exploring development paths and governance models that are suited to their national conditions. We must never allow any external interference in the domestic affairs of countries in our region under whatever pretext. We should keep the future and destiny of our countries’ development and progress firmly in our own hands.

We should follow the principle of putting people and their lives first and promote the spirit of science. We need to deepen international cooperation against the virus, promote fair and equitable distribution of vaccines and firmly oppose any act of politicizing COVID-19 origins tracing. China has provided close to 1.2 billion doses of finished and bulk vaccines to over 100 countries and international organizations in the course of this year. China will step up efforts to provide a total of two billion doses to other countries in the course of this year. China will deepen anti-COVID cooperation with other developing countries, make good use of China’s 100 million U.S. dollars donation to COVAX, and make our due contribution to humanity’s ultimate victory over the virus.

Second, we need to follow the journey of upholding our common security. We need to pursue common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and take tough actions against the “three forces” of terrorism, separatism and extremism, including the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. We need to strengthen cooperation on counter-narcotics, border control and security for major events, and speedily improve the SCO’s security cooperation mechanism. We need to enhance the capacity of competent authorities of SCO countries to maintain stability and respond to emergencies. We SCO member states need to step up coordination to facilitate a smooth transition in Afghanistan and help Afghanistan truly embark on a path of peace, stability and development.

Third, we need to follow the journey of promoting openness and integration. We need to continue to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation as well as the secure and orderly flow of people, goods, capital and data. We should create growth drivers of cooperation such as digital economy, green energy and modern agriculture. We need to strengthen complementarity between the Belt and Road Initiative and the development strategies of SCO countries and regional cooperation initiatives such as the Eurasian Economic Union. We should keep industrial and supply chains functioning smoothly, promote economic integration and interconnected development of all countries and deliver shared benefits to all.

China will continue to share its market opportunities, and strive to reach 2.3 trillion U.S. dollars in its cumulative trade with other SCO countries in the next five years. China will open a China-SCO Business and Trade Institute and launch the second phase of the special lending facility to promote Belt and Road cooperation, to mainly support projects related to modernization, connectivity, infrastructure, and green, low-carbon and sustainable development.

Fourth, we need to follow the journey of boosting interactions and mutual learning. We need to encourage exchanges, dialogue, harmony and co-existence between civilizations. We should launch more projects that will appeal to our people and benefit them directly in areas including science and technology, education, culture, health and poverty alleviation. In the next three years, China will provide 1,000 training opportunities in poverty alleviation for other SCO countries, open 10 Luban Workshops, and launch 30 cooperation projects in such areas as health, poverty relief, culture and education under the framework of the Silk Road Community Building Initiative. China will host an SCO youth technology and innovation forum next year. China proposes to establish an SCO alliance of traditional medicine industries. China welcomes all countries’ participation in the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to deliver a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games together.

Fifth, we need to follow the journey of upholding equity and justice. As a Chinese saying goes, “Power may win for the time being, but justice will prevail for the long run.” Acting from a so-called “position of strength” is not the way to handle international affairs, and hegemonic, domineering and bullying acts should be firmly rejected. In addressing international relations, we should observe the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. We need to practice true multilateralism and oppose actions that use the name of so-called rules to undermine the international order and cause confrontation and division. We need to boost mutually beneficial cooperation and promote inclusive development that delivers benefits to all.

Xi Jinping pointed out that I am confident that the growing SCO family will stride ahead together with all the progressive forces of the world, and be the builders of world peace, contributors to global development and defenders of the international order.

At last, Xi Jinping said, let’s hold high the banner of the Shanghai Spirit, stay true to the SCO’s founding mission, advance in the right direction of building a community with a shared future for mankind, and embark on a new journey for the development of the SCO!

The meeting was chaired by President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, the rotating presidency of the SCO, and attended by leaders of SCO member states including Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev; heads of SCO’s permanent bodies including SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov and Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure Jumakhon Giyosov; leaders of observer states including Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi; and Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the Presidency’s guest. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mongolian President Ukhnaa Khurelsukh, and United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attended the meeting via video link.

The participating leaders comprehensively reviewed and spoke highly of the achievements made by the SCO in the politics, economy, security and people-to-people exchanges and other fields since its establishment 20 years ago. They said they will continue to uphold the Shanghai Spirit, respect and support each other, build a partnership of equality and mutual benefit, safeguard common interests, and work together to respond to new situations and challenges, so as to promote the sustained, healthy and stable development of the SCO, promote common security and common prosperity in the region and build a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. All sides agreed that they should strengthen solidarity, cooperate in the fight against the COVID-19 and vaccines, and oppose politicizing the origin tracing of the virus. They should deepen cooperation in economy and trade, energy, innovation, connectivity, digital economy and environmental protection, put people first and strengthen people-to-people exchanges to achieve sustainable development and bring more benefits to peoples in the region. They should support multilateralism, uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, promote democracy in international relations, oppose hegemonism, unilateralism and interference in other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of democracy and human rights, and support countries in independently choosing their development paths. They should

enhance counter-terrorism cooperation, jointly combat the “three forces” of terrorism, separatism and extremism and transnational crimes, and jointly safeguard regional security and stability. They will support the complementarity between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union. All sides expressed their opposition to politicizing sports and wish China’s successful hosting of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics. All sides pay close attention to the situation in Afghanistan and support Afghanistan in eliminating the threat of terrorism and realizing peace and reconstruction. The SCO will play a positive role in this regard.

The meeting started the process of admitting Iran as a full member and included Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar as new dialogue partners.

The meeting decided that Uzbekistan will take over the rotating presidency of the SCO.

The leaders of SCO member states signed the Dushanbe Declaration on the 20th Anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and approved a series of resolutions. The meeting also issued a statement on cooperation in scientific and technological innovation and food security.

Ding Xuexiang, Yang Jiechi, He Lifeng and others attended the meeting.

Wang Yi attended the meeting in Tajikistan as a special representative of President Xi Jinping.


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