|Remarks by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi At the SCO Day Reception|
15 June 2021
Secretary-General Vladimir Norov,
Today, we gather here to celebrate the 20th birthday of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). On behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to extend festive greetings to all the guests present here, and pay high tribute to friends from all countries who have long given care and support to the development of this Organization.
Twenty years ago, at the dawn of this century, the heads of state of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan announced officially the creation of the SCO. It was a decision that embraced the world trend of peace, development and cooperation, and ushered in a new era of the countries in the region jointly pursuing security, development and prosperity.
Guided by the Shanghai Spirit, the SCO has withstood the test of the ever-evolving international landscape and deepened cooperation in various fields. The Organization has embarked on a path of cooperation and development that suits the realities of our region and meets the needs of all parties. It has taken important steps toward building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.
— The past 20 years is an embodiment of our commitment to solidarity and a shared future. We have observed the SCO Charter and the Treaty on Long-term Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation. We have risen above differences in ideology, social system and development path. We have supported each other on issues involving our respective core interests and major concerns. And we have engaged in close coordination in the face of external interference and various risks and challenges. These are concrete actions that give true meaning to the SCO community with a shared future.
— The past 20 years is an embodiment of our commitment to common security and shared development. We have acted on the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, made solid progress in cooperation on law enforcement and security, fought terrorism, separatism and extremism together, and forged a strong security shield. We have pursued integrated development of our economies, jointly advanced Belt and Road cooperation, and deepened cooperation in such areas as economy and trade, transport, agriculture and energy. These efforts provide a lasting source of driving force for economic growth and improvement of livelihoods in SCO countries. In 2020, the combined economic size of SCO members reached 18.4 trillion US dollars, an 11-fold increase since the founding of the Organization. Intra-SCO trade jumped eight times to 6.2 trillion US dollars over the same period.
— The past 20 years is an embodiment of our commitment to greater understanding, affinity and mutual learning. We have advocated equality, mutual learning, dialogue and mutual accommodation between civilizations. Many well-designed programs were organized among SCO countries such as culture and art festivals, the SCO University and youth exchange camps. They serve as bridges connecting the hearts of our peoples and tell the story of mutual learning across civilizations. Back in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the number of visits between China and other SCO members exceeded 7 million, 3.5 times as many as in 2001. These flourishing people-to-people exchanges have cemented public support for SCO’s development.
— The past 20 years is an embodiment of our commitment to openness, inclusiveness and moral justice. We adopted a cooperation model based on partnership and dialogue, rather than alliance or confrontation. The SCO has grown into a big family comprising eight member states, four observers and six dialogue partners living in harmony. We have maintained close contact with the United Nations and other international and regional organizations. We have firmly upheld multilateralism, pursued political settlement of hotspot issues, and formed a strong SCO voice on building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. In tackling the COVID challenge, we have held high the banner of solidarity against the virus, extended support and help to each other, and jointly opposed politicizing the virus. Together, we have made SCO’s contribution to the global endeavor in protecting lives and fighting COVID-19.
As a founding member, China always views the SCO as a high priority in its diplomacy. In recent years, President Xi Jinping and leaders of other member states have together envisioned the future development of the SCO, put forward major initiatives that benefit the people of all countries, and brought the definition of the Shanghai Spirit fully up to date. Together, our leaders have charted the future course for the sound and steady development of the SCO. At this new historic starting point, the SCO needs to stand at the forefront and take up the responsibilities of our times, and make greater contribution to world peace and development.
— Looking ahead to the future, we need to set a shining example of a community with a shared future. The Shanghai Spirit is an invaluable asset of the SCO, and has become all the more important in guiding the SCO under the new international circumstances. We must firmly carry forward the Shanghai Spirit. We need to increase governance experience sharing, staunchly support each other’s efforts to follow development paths suited to national circumstances, support each other in upholding sovereignty, security and development interests, reject external interference in our countries’ domestic affairs, and keep our future firmly in our own hands.
— Looking ahead to the future, we need to unlock new driving force for cooperation and mutual benefits. Stability and development are our peoples’ common pursuit. We must remain united in fighting COVID-19 and building a community of health for all. We need to build a strong shield for regional security, unite our efforts in fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism, and effectively respond to new threats and challenges concerning data security, biological security and other issues. We need to improve trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. We need to create synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative, member states’ development strategies and regional cooperation initiatives at a faster pace. We need to cooperate more closely in high-tech areas including digital economy and artificial intelligence, deepen cooperation on drugs and medicine and let our peoples benefit more from our cooperation results.
— Looking ahead to the future, we need to write a new chapter of mutual learning between civilizations. SCO members all have rich and profound histories and cultures. We must be confident in our cultures and promote dialogue, exchanges and harmonious coexistence among different civilizations. We need to cement the basis of our good-neighborliness and friendship by increasing exchanges and cooperation between youths, women, think tanks and media. We need to support a bigger role of organizations dedicated to people-to-people friendship. These efforts will bring people of different countries closer and nurture friendship among future generations.
— Looking ahead to the future, we need to step up to new responsibilities in global governance. The SCO has an important part to play in making the global governance system fairer and more equitable. We need to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, advocate true multilateralism, and promote the common values of humanity for peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom. We need to follow the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. Our aim is to build a new world — an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.
The SCO embodies our collective wisdom and common practice. Let us join hands and redouble our efforts for achieving new milestones in the development of the Organization, for building an even closer community with a shared future of the SCO, and for making new and greater achievements of the SCO.