Xi's visit to Central Asia guides course for SCO cooperation, says Chinese FM
Chinese President Xi Jinping returned to Beijing Friday midnight after wrapping up attendance to the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and state visits to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
In a packed schedule of three days and two nights, President Xi flew to Nur-Sultan and Samarkand, stayed for 48 hours, and intensively attended nearly 30 events, featuring both multilateral and bilateral agendas, and covering both security and development issues, said State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Despite the tight schedule, there are many highlights and fruitful results, which have strongly pushed the SCO expansion a new step forward and brought China's relations with relevant countries to a new level, he added.
Wang said President Xi's trip to Central Asia adds more vitality to the Silk Road spanning through Eurasia, brings more stabilizing factors to the international and regional situation standing at a crossroads, and creates more favorable international conditions for starting a new journey of building a modern socialist country in all respects.
President Xi has well summarized the successful experience of the SCO, namely, adhering to political trust, win-win cooperation, equality between nations, openness and inclusiveness as well as equity and justice, and adding that the five points fully embody the Shanghai Spirit, which has always been the source of strength for the development of the SCO and the fundamental guide we must continue to follow in the years to come, Wang said.
Xi pointed out that under the new circumstances, the SCO, as an important constructive force in international and regional affairs, should face up to the changing international situation, firmly grasp the trend of the times, constantly strengthen strategic independence, consolidate and deepen solidarity and cooperation, and work for the building of an even closer SCO community with a shared future, Wang said.
To this end, Xi proposed the five points, stressing the need to increase mutual support, expand security cooperation, deepen practical cooperation, strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and uphold multilateralism, Wang said.
These proposals are in line with the shared aspiration of all member states to seek unity, stability and development, and have mapped out a roadmap for the SCO and a new prospect for cooperation, Wang added.
The summit adopted more than 40 documents covering such areas as economy, finance, science and technology, culture and people-to-people exchanges, institution building and external interactions, Wang said.
At the summit, Iran has officially become a full SCO member. China and other SCO members also started the procedure for Belarus' accession, granted Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar the status of SCO dialogue partners, and reached agreement on admitting Bahrain, the Maldives, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Myanmar as new dialogue partners.
The new round of the largest expansion of the SCO membership has consolidated its status and influence as the most populous regional cooperation organization with the vastest territory in the world, Wang said.
This expansion fully demonstrates that the SCO is not a closed and exclusive "small clique," but an open and inclusive "big family," he added.
As a new type of international organization comprising 26 countries, the SCO is increasingly showing strong vitality and bright prospects for development, Wang said, adding that it will inject more positive energy and new impetus into peace and prosperity in Eurasia and beyond, and play an exemplary role in building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.
The summit witnessed the signing of the Samarkand Declaration of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO, which sufficiently brought in the major contents of a series of important initiatives proposed by the Chinese side, Wang said.
A few years after his previous trips, President Xi paid visits to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan on his first overseas trip since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this fully showed the high-level and uniqueness of China's relations with the two countries, as well as the close friendship and deep trust between the heads of state, Wang said.
President Xi received the Order of the Golden Eagle, or "Altyn Qyran" Order, awarded by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, and the first Order of Friendship, the highest honor given by Uzbekistan on foreign individuals, conferred by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
President Xi signed and issued joint statements respectively with the heads of state of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, comprehensively summarizing the achievements and experience accumulated during the past 30 years of diplomatic relations and drawing a blueprint for future development, Wang said.
Wang said that in Samarkand, President Xi attended bilateral meetings with 10 leaders participating in the SCO summit, and attended the meeting of heads of state of China, Russia and Mongolia. The meetings play an important role in guiding the development of bilateral relations and boosting regional peace and stability.
During the meetings, the leaders reiterated that their countries will continue to firmly abide by the one-China principle, firmly support China's stance on issues concerning its core interests, including those related to Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong.