Carry Forward the Shanghai Spirit;
Build a Community of Shared Future*
June 10, 2018
In this lovely month of June, I am delighted to welcome all of you to the picturesque city of Qingdao for the 18th meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Over 2,500 years ago, the great Chinese philosopher Confucius had this to say, "What a joy to have friends coming from afar!"1 It is therefore of special significance that I host my distinguished guests in Shandong, the home province of Confucius, for a summit that will chart the future course for the SCO.
In five days, the SCO will celebrate its 17th anniversary, an occasion for us to review our organization's remarkable journey and important achievements.
Over the past 17 years, guided by the SCO Charter and the Treaty of Long-term Good-neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Between the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, we have forged a constructive partnership of non-alliance, non-confrontation, and non-targeting of any third party. This represents a major breakthrough in the theory and practice of international relations, a new model for regional cooperation, and a new contribution to peace and development in the region.
Today, the SCO stands as a comprehensive regional cooperation organization that encompasses the largest area and population in the world. The economy and population of the SCO member states account for about 20 percent and 40 percent of the world's total. The SCO has four observer states and six dialogue partners as well as extensive cooperation links with the United Nations and other international and regional organizations. With its rising international influence, the SCO has become a force to be reckoned with – one promoting world peace and development and upholding international fairness and justice.
Cooperation within the SCO enjoys strong vitality and momentum. In the final analysis, this can be attributed to the Shanghai Spirit, a creative vision initiated and followed through by the SCO that champions mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations, and pursuit of common development. The Shanghai Spirit, transcending outdated concepts such as the clash of civilizations, Cold War thinking, and zero-sum mentality, has turned a new page in the history of international relations and is winning increasing support from the international community.
Mencius, another ancient Chinese philosopher, aptly observed, "When Confucius looks down from the peak of the Dongshan Mountain, the local Kingdom of Lu comes into view; when he looks down from the peak of Mount Tai, the whole land comes into view."2 At a time when the world is undergoing major developments, transformation and adjustment, we must aim high and look far, and keep pace with the underlying trends of both the world and our times to drive forward the cause of human civilization and progress.
While hegemony and power politics still persist in this world, the call for a more just and equitable international order must be heeded. Democracy in international relations has become an unstoppable trend.
For all that traditional and non-traditional security threats continue to emerge, the force for peace will prevail – security and stability are what people long for.
For all that unilateralism, trade protectionism and anti-globalization continue to manifest themselves in new forms, in this global village of ours, where countries' interests and future are so interconnected, cooperation for mutual benefit represents a general trend.
For all that we keep hearing such rhetoric as the clash of civilizations or the superiority of one civilization over another, it is the diversity of civilizations that sustains human progress. Indeed, mutual learning between different cultures is a shared aspiration of all peoples.
The world today faces both opportunities and challenges. The road ahead may not be smooth, but it will lead to a promising future. We should stay committed to the Shanghai Spirit, surmount difficulties, defuse risks, and meet challenges head-on.
– We should stand for innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, work for coordinated social and economic progress in our countries, and resolve problems caused by imbalanced development. We should bridge the gap in development and promote shared prosperity.
– We should pursue common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. We should reject the Cold War mentality and confrontation between blocs, and oppose the practice of seeking absolute security for oneself at the expense of others', so as to achieve security for all.
– We should promote open and inclusive cooperation for win-win outcomes. We must be open, farsighted and visionary, rejecting self-centered policies. We should uphold WTO rules and support the multilateral trading system so as to build an open world economy.
– We should champion equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness between civilizations. It is important that we remove cultural misunderstandings, transcend cultural clashes, and dispel notions of cultural supremacy, through cultural exchanges, mutual learning and harmonious coexistence.
– We should follow the principle of achieving shared growth through consultation and collaboration in global governance. We should reform and improve the global governance system, and work with all other countries to build a global community of shared future.
The Shanghai Spirit is our shared asset, and the SCO is our shared home. Guided by the Shanghai Spirit, we should work closely to build an SCO community of shared future, move towards a new model of international relations, and build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity. To this end, I would like to propose the following:
First, we need to strengthen unity and build mutual trust. We should ensure a full implementation of the commitments made in the Qingdao Declaration, the Plan of Action of the Treaty of Long-term Good-neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, and other documents. All should respect the others' choice of development path and accommodate the others' core interests and mutual concerns. We should enhance mutual understanding by seeing things from others' perspectives, and boost harmony and unity by seeking common ground and shelving differences. This will enhance the cohesion and appeal of our organization.
Second, we need to strengthen the foundations of shared peace and security. We need to actively implement the 2019-2021 program of cooperation in combating the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, continue to conduct the "peace mission" and other joint counter-terrorism exercises, and enhance cooperation in defense security, law enforcement security and information security. We need to give full play to the role of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group in facilitating peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan. China wishes to train 2,000 law enforcement officers from SCO member states in the next three years through the China-SCO Training Base for International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation and other platforms to strengthen capacity in law enforcement.
Third, we need to build a powerful engine to achieve common development and prosperity. We should increase complementarity in our respective development strategies, continue to advance the Belt and Road Initiative in the context of delivering shared benefits through extensive consultation and joint contribution, accelerate the process of regional trade facilitation, and step up the implementation of the Agreement on International Road Transport Facilitation and other cooperation documents. China welcomes all member states to attend the First China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November this year. The Chinese government supports the establishment of a demonstration area in Qingdao for China-SCO local economic and trade cooperation, and a China-SCO legal service committee to provide legal support for economic and trade cooperation.
In support of these measures, I would like to announce that China will set up a special lending facility with a value of RMB30 billion within the framework of the SCO Inter-bank Consortium.
Fourth, we need to forge closer ties through cultural and people-to-people exchanges. We should actively implement the adopted documents, including the SCO concept on environmental protection, ensure the continued success of such well-recognized programs as youth exchange camps, and secure solid progress in cooperation in education, science and technology, culture, tourism, health, disaster relief and the media. In the next three years, China will provide 3,000 training opportunities for personnel from SCO member states to enhance public awareness of and support for the SCO family. China offers all member states meteorological services through access to its Fengyun-2 weather satellites.
Fifth, we need to expand partnership networks of international cooperation. By intensifying exchanges and cooperation with SCO observer states, dialogue partners, and other countries in our region, by enhancing partnerships with the United Nations and other international and regional organizations, and by engaging in dialogue with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international financial institutions, we can contribute our share to resolving flashpoint issues and improving global governance.
Thanks to the support and assistance of all other SCO member states over the past year, China has completed its SCO presidency and hosted this summit. Here I wish to express my sincere thanks to you all. China will maintain practical, close and friendly cooperation with other SCO member states to ensure the full implementation of the agreements reached at this summit and support Kyrgyzstan in its SCO presidency. Let us join hands to create an even brighter future for the SCO!
* Speech at the 18th meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
1 The Analects of Confucius (Lun Yu).
2 The Mencius (Meng Zi).
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)