Carry Forward the "Shanghai Spirit" and Promote Common Development*
September 13, 2013
Your Excellency President Almazbek Atambayev,
It gives me great pleasure to attend the Bishkek Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. I would like to thank Kyrgyzstan, the SCO Presidency, for your meticulous preparations and thoughtful arrangements for the success of this summit. China commends Kyrgyzstan for your enormous and effective efforts over the past year for the SCO's development.
In light of the latest developments in the international and regional situation and in response to the common aspirations of member states for stability, growth and better lives for their peoples, this summit has focused on the implementation of the Treaty of Long-term Good-neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation. It will ratify the Plan of Action of the Treaty and map out the blueprint for the development of the SCO in the next five years. These efforts will offer broader prospects for the organization.
Just as the SCO enjoys precious opportunities for development, it also faces severe challenges. The "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism all pose threats to the security and stability of this region as do drug trafficking and transnational organized crime. The international financial crisis has caused varying degrees of economic difficulties for countries in this region, leaving them in a period of adjustment and recovery.
Challenges such as these are more than any one country can handle alone. We must therefore enhance cooperation and unite to become stronger. And in this regard, I would like to suggest that we do the following.
First, we should carry forward the "Shanghai Spirit."1 To implement the "Shanghai Spirit," we should build up trust among member states and conduct mutually beneficial cooperation based on equality, consultation, mutual understanding and mutual accommodation. This conforms to the trend of peace and development of the times and accords with the interests and aspirations of the people of the member states.
We should implement the Treaty of Long-term Good-neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation with real actions and promote cooperation wholeheartedly in all fields within the SCO framework, so that member states will become good neighbors living in harmony, good friends pulling together in troubled waters and good partners sharing weal and woe.
Second, we should jointly safeguard regional security and stability. A secure and stable environment is a prerequisite for mutually beneficial cooperation, and common development and prosperity. We should implement the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism and the Program of Cooperation, improve the system of law enforcement and security cooperation of the SCO, entrust the regional counter-terrorism structure with responsibility for anti-narcotics operations, and on this basis establish a center for comprehensive responses to security threats and challenges.
The relevant authorities within the member states should also open up a channel for routine communication, and explore ways to act and work together to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism so as to create a sound working and living environment for the peoples of this region.
Afghanistan is an observer of the SCO, and its situation is closely related to regional security and stability. The SCO should support it in national reconciliation, help it realize peace and stability as soon as possible, and safeguard regional security.
Third, we should focus on practical cooperation. This is the material basis and main driver for the SCO's development. All the six member states and the five observers are located along the routes of the ancient Silk Road. As such, we are all duty-bound to carry forward the Silk Road spirit by taking the following steps:
Number one, open up new transport and logistics routes. The member states could move speedily to sign the Agreement on the Facilitation of International Road Transport. Once signed, the agreement would be open for wide observer participation on a voluntary basis so that the participating countries could build unimpeded transport corridors connecting the Baltic with the Pacific and connecting Central Asia with both the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.
Number two, explore a trade and investment facilitation agreement. Extensive trade and investment cooperation with full consideration for the interests and concerns of all parties would allow us to thoroughly unlock the potential for cooperation among member states and achieve mutual complementarity in the interest of our common development and prosperity.
Number three, step up cooperation in the financial sector. We should establish an SCO development bank which would provide funding guarantees and serve as a settlement platform for the organization's infrastructure development and collaborative economic and trade projects. In the meantime, the SCO should set up a special account to ensure funding for project studies, exchanges and training within its framework. We should make full use of the inter-bank consortium to intensify exchanges and cooperation between financial institutions of the countries in this region.
Number four, establish an energy club. This would help us coordinate energy cooperation within the SCO framework, secure stable supply and demand, ensure energy security, and, on top of these, encourage extensive cooperation in such areas as energy efficiency and new energy sources.
Number five, put in place a cooperation mechanism for food security. We should enhance cooperation in agricultural production, agrotrade and food safety to ensure greater food security.
Last but not least, we should intensify people-to-people and cultural exchanges to build strong public support and a social foundation for the SCO's future development. We should promote cooperation in a wide range of areas such as culture, education, film and TV, health, sports and tourism.
At the Beijing Summit, China announced a ten-year program of 30,000 government scholarships for the other member states. We are ready to work closely with the other member states to maximize the benefit of this program.
China will also establish a China-SCO base for international judicial exchanges, cooperation and training at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law. We would like to make it a platform for training judicial professionals for other member states.
Traditional medicine is a new area of cooperation. China stands ready to join hands with other member states in building medical institutions specializing in traditional Chinese medicine to make full use of such resources for the benefit of the people of our member states.
China has taken the lead in establishing an SCO Committee on Good-neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation in line with a consensus among the parties concerned. We hope that all fellow member states and observer countries will establish similar organizations for the purpose of enhancing mutual understanding and traditional friendship among our peoples.
The Bishkek Declaration clarifies the stand of member states on the Syrian issue. Here I would like to reiterate that China pays close attention to the Syrian situation, supports the international community's drive for a cease-fire and peace talks, and calls on both sides of the Syrian conflict to work out a political solution to the crisis. China supports Russia's proposal that Syria surrender its chemical weapons to international control for their eventual destruction. China is ready to enhance communication and coordination with related parties through the UN Security Council, and will continue its unremitting efforts in facilitating a political settlement.
* Speech at the 13th meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Bishkek.
1 The "Shanghai Spirit" was formally proposed in the Declaration on the Establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). On June 15, 2001, the heads of state of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan met in Shanghai, declaring the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and publishing the Declaration. In the Declaration the "Shanghai Spirit," whose essence is mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, cooperation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development, was established as the norm for relations among SCO member states.
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