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Xi Jinping Attends the 20th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Delivers an Important Speech


On the evening of November 10, 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the 20th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) via video link and delivered an important speech entitled "Carrying Forward the Shanghai Spirit and Deepening Solidarity and Collaboration for a Stronger Community with a Shared Future". Xi stressed that the SCO is required to carry forward the Shanghai Spirit, step up anti-epidemic cooperation, safeguard security and stability, deepen practical cooperation, and nourish people-to-people amity to build a community of health, a community of security, a community of development and a community of cultural exchanges for all, so as to take more steps toward building a community with a shared future for mankind.

The meeting was presided over by Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the SCO. It was attended by leaders of other SCO member states, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Acting President and Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, as well as the heads of standing bodies, including SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov, and Director of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) Jumakhon Giyosov. It was also attended by the heads of state of the SCO, observer states, including Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga, and Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko, as well as the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Xi stressed that since its founding, the SCO has set an example for a new type of international relations that features mutual respect, equity, justice and win-win cooperation. In the face of COVID-19, we have backed each other up to tide over the difficulties together. Such solidarity has injected positive energy into both the SCO's steady development and international cooperation against the coronavirus.

Xi pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated shifts in the international landscape. The world is entering a period of turbulence and transformation. The international community now faces a major test with choices to be made between multilateralism and unilateralism, openness and seclusion, cooperation and confrontation. "What is going on with the world?" "What shall we do about it?" - These are the questions awaiting answers from the people of our time. People across the world increasingly yearn for a better life. The trend toward peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit is unstoppable. History has proven and will continue to prove that good-neighborliness will prevail over a beggar-thy-neighbor approach, mutually beneficial cooperation will replace zero-sum game, and multilateralism will win over unilateralism.

Xi stressed that in the current circumstances, the SCO is required to carry forward the Shanghai Spirit and deepen solidarity and collaboration, so as to contribute more to the stability and development of countries in the region and take more steps toward building a community with a shared future for mankind.

First, we need to step up anti-epidemic cooperation and build a community of health for all. We need to strengthen joint response to COVID-19, uphold regional and global public health security, support the World Health Organization's crucial leadership role, oppose attempts to politicize the pandemic or mislabel the coronavirus, and jointly resist any "political virus". China proposes that hotline contacts be created between SCO members' centers for disease control (CDCs), and will actively consider SCO countries' need for vaccines.

Second, we need to safeguard security and stability and build a community of security for all. We need to act on the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and address all forms of threats and challenges effectively. We need to firmly support countries concerned in their law-based efforts to steadily advance major domestic political agenda, firmly support countries in safeguarding political security and social stability, and firmly oppose interference by external forces in the domestic affairs of SCO members under whatever pretexts, and resolve disputes and differences through dialogue and consultation. It is important that we forestall terrorist, separatist and extremist attempts to exploit the pandemic for disruption, and deepen SCO members' enforcement cooperation. China welcomes the participation of all parties in the Global Initiative on Data Security launched by China.

Third, we need to deepen practical cooperation and build a community of development for all. We need to forge greater synergy of the Belt and Road Initiative with national development strategies as well as region-wide cooperation initiatives such as the Eurasian Economic Union, ensure unimpeded economic flows in the region, speed up the resumption of work and production, expand mutual investment, and step up cooperation in digital economy, e-commerce, artificial intelligence and smart cities. Next year, China will host a China-SCO forum on the digital economy industry in Chongqing. We need to implement more joint projects that deliver real benefits to peoples. China supports setting up an SCO joint working group on poverty reduction.

Fourth, we need to nourish people-to-people amity and build a community of cultural exchanges for all. We need to promote mutual learning between our civilizations, support the exchanges and cooperation in the fields covering education, culture, tourism, sports, media and women's welfare. China will host an SCO non-governmental friendship forum next year, and provide communication platforms for 600 young people in the coming three years.

Xi Jinping stressed that we need to act to champion multilateralism and follow the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits to improve global governance and uphold the international order. The SCO needs to expand its network of partnerships and play a more active role in international and regional affairs.

Xi Jinping stressed that China is speeding up efforts to foster a new development paradigm and putting new mechanisms in place to build an open economy of a higher standard. China will remain committed to a win-win strategy of opening-up and welcomes all parties to capitalize on China's development opportunity and make active endeavors to deepen cooperation with China.

Xi Jinping concluded by emphasizing that next year marks the 20th anniversary of the SCO. Let us hold high the banner of the Shanghai Spirit, forge ahead with strong cooperation, strive for the better development of the Organization, and build an even closer community with a shared future for us all.

Foreign leaders who participated in the meeting made positive comments on the progress of SCO cooperation in various fields, and said that challenges and threats are increasing in the current international situation, while the COVID-19 pandemic is having a serious negative impact on global politics, economy and society. Countries should work together to combat the epidemic and oppose stigmatization of other countries under the pretext of the epidemic. Member states should uphold multilateralism, safeguard the international order based on the UN Charter and international law, uphold the rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core, and promote an open world economy. Member states should uphold the Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for the diversity of civilizations and pursuit of common development to build a community with a shared future for mankind. Member states should respect the path chosen by their own people and oppose interference by external forces in their internal affairs. Cooperation in trade, investment, production capacity, transportation, energy, innovation and the digital economy should be strengthened to improve people's livelihood and eradicate poverty. People-to-people exchanges should also be deepened. Member states should support the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, work together to fight the terrorist, separatist and extremist attempts, safeguard data security and biosecurity, and resolve disputes peacefully through dialogue and consultation to safeguard regional security, stability and sustainable development.

It was decided at the meeting that Tajikistan will take over the rotating presidency of the SCO.

The meeting adopted and issued the "Moscow Declaration of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO Member States" and a series of statements on joint response efforts against the novel coronavirus infection, in connection with the 75th anniversary of victory in World War II, on cooperation in international information security, on cooperation in the digital economy, on countering the spread of terrorist, separatist and extremist Ideology, including online, and on countering the drug threat.

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

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