Thursday, 29 July, 2021

20 years on, China calls for closer SCO community with shared future

People visit the 2021 SCO International Investment and Trade Expo in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, April 26, 2021. (Xinhua/Li Ziheng)

BEIJING, June 15 (Xinhua) -- After 20 years of growth, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has evolved into one of the major mechanisms promoting regional and global stability and prosperity.

As an important founding member of the SCO, China has been calling for concerted efforts to build a closer SCO community with a shared future, which has offered the organization and the world an inspiring vision to jointly tackle emerging challenges.


At the landmark Qingdao summit of the SCO in 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the building of an SCO community with a shared future, which has enriched the Shanghai Spirit, a core value of the SCO that champions mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development.

In the Qingdao Declaration, the SCO members made "building a community with a shared future for humanity" a common concept, which has become the member states' most important political consensus and set the goal for their future efforts.

To propel the SCO towards a greater role in promoting regional and global prosperity, the Chinese president has expounded his insightful vision on building a community with a shared future for mankind on various occasions.

From 2014 to 2016, Xi repeatedly mentioned a community of common destiny and a community of common interests in his speeches at the SCO.

"All member states, old and new, should work in close coordination, deepen mutual trust and increase mutual support in their endeavor to build a community of shared future featuring equality, mutual support, solidarity and sharing of weal and woe," Xi said at the 17th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO in 2017.

At the Qingdao summit in 2018, Xi elaborated on his vision on upholding "innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development," pursuing "common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security," promoting "open and inclusive cooperation for win-win outcomes," championing "equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness between civilizations," and following "the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration in engaging in global governance."

In June 2019, Xi called for efforts to make the SCO an example of solidarity and mutual trust, common security, mutually beneficial cooperation, inclusiveness and mutual learning, which has further specified the goals and tasks of building an SCO community with a shared future.

"I would like to emphasize that the China-proposed ideas of building a community with (a) shared future for mankind and the Belt and Road Initiative have stood test within the framework of the SCO," said former SCO Secretary-General Bolat Nurgaliyev.


The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the surging problems that have been plaguing human beings, and also provided the SCO members with an opportunity to build a closer community with a shared future.

While attending the 20th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO in 2020 via video link, the Chinese president deepened the concept of an SCO community with a shared future by putting forward "a community of health for us all," "a community of security for us all," "a community of development for us all" and "a community of cultural exchanges for us all."

Guided by the vision of building "a community of health for us all," China has provided COVID-19 vaccines to Uzbekistan, donated anti-epidemic materials to Kyrgyzstan, and sent medical experts to Russia and Kazakhstan.

At the same time, traditional and non-traditional security threats such as terrorism, extremism, drug proliferation and cyber security issues continue to emerge. The vision of building "a community of security for us all" generates a new perspective on solving these problems in a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable manner.

From signing the anti-extremism convention and conducting joint military drills to cracking down on Internet-based propagation of extremist ideology and pushing forward the peace process in Afghanistan, the SCO has witnessed burgeoning security cooperation among its members on regional and international arenas.

Meanwhile, "a community of development for us all" is taking shape. As Xi pointed out, "True development is development for all and good development is sustainable."

Major projects such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, SCO training and demonstration base for agricultural technology exchange and China-SCO local economic and trade cooperation demonstration zone have brought tangible benefits for local people.

In recent years, the world has also encountered turbulence of unilateralism and protectionism, with some voices advocating "clash of civilizations" and inciting prejudice and hatred.

However, each civilization, Xi said, is distinct and none is superior to others. "We need to promote mutual learning between our civilizations and enhance good-neighborliness and friendship between our countries."


Covering over 60 percent of the Eurasian landmass and nearly half of the world's population, the SCO is well-known for its growing role in maintaining regional stability and boosting common prosperity.

"One of the main goals and objectives of the SCO is to promote comprehensive and balanced economic growth, social and cultural development in the region through joint actions based on equal partnership of the member states, in order to steadily improve the living conditions of peoples," Kabuljon Sabirov, director of the Tashkent-based SCO's Public Diplomacy Center, told Xinhua.

As an increasingly important cooperation mechanism and platform, the SCO has also won worldwide recognition as it has never accepted the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game thoughts, and has strived for a shared future and a new type of international relations.

The SCO sets a good example for a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, equity, justice and win-win cooperation, said Li Ziguo, director of the Department for European-Central Asian Studies of the China Institute of International Studies.

Since its founding 20 years ago, the SCO has continuously developed and expanded, and its influence has been continuously improved, Li said, adding that the SCO has successfully explored a new type of cooperation and development path for regional organizations.

The formation of the SCO, with an aim "to create stable mechanisms of interaction, a platform for constant political dialogue and regional economic cooperation," was a turning point in the development of mankind, Sabirov said.

"The SCO was and is a collective response of the peoples of a vast region to the challenges of our time," he said.

The SCO, which marks its 20th founding anniversary on June 15, has grown into a major force in facilitating the realization of lasting peace and common development, said Nurgaliyev.

"China better understands that one's own well-being depends on the successful development of his neighbors. If your neighbor has a more successful economy, you can benefit from it," Nurgaliyev noted.

"Turning 20 years old, the SCO has walked a glorious path. There is a very high level of mutual trust and understanding, with member states ready to jointly respond to challenges on the international agenda," he said.