Wang Yi Gives an Interview to the Media on the SCO Qingdao Summit

On June 10, 2018, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave an interview to the media in Qingdao, introducing the outcomes of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Qingdao Summit. The following is the full text.

Ⅰ. Q: China hosts the SCO Summit again after six years. Meanwhile, it is also the first summit held after membership expansion of the SCO, to which the international community has paid high attention. What do you think of the features and significance of this Summit?

A: Compared with previous SCO summits, the Qingdao Summit is the largest one running at the highest level, delivering the most outcomes and creating a series of records of the SCO. This is the first summit held after membership expansion of the SCO. At present, the SCO has 8 member states, 4 observer states, and 6 dialogue partners. Its economic aggregate and total population account for more than 20 percent and 40 percent of those of the world respectively. It stands as a comprehensive regional organization that covers the largest area and population in the world today. Heads of state or government from 12 countries, and principals from 10 international organizations or institutions gathered together in Qingdao. The registered foreign guests exceeded 2,000 people, and Chinese and foreign journalists who covered the Summit surpassed 3,000 people. Under the host of President Xi Jinping, all state leaders of the big family of the SCO jointly reviewed the extraordinary journey of the SCO over the past 17 years, and made a comprehensive plan for the path and direction of the SCO in the future, as well as reached a series of important consensuses. The leaders of the member states signed and witnessed 23 cooperation documents, making the Qingdao Summit the most fruitful one compared with the previous summits. It is fair to say that under the joint efforts of China and all member states, the outcomes of the Qingdao Summit exceeded the expectation. The Qingdao Summit is a new milestone in the development process of the SCO, and of important significance in inheriting the past and ushering the future for the development of the SCO. The following three aspects are the most important ones:

First, the “Shanghai Spirit” has been highlighted. The “Shanghai Spirit” can be summarized as mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations, and pursuit of common development. President Xi Jinping stressed at the Summit that the SCO enjoys strong vitality. This, in the final analysis, is attributed to our adherence to the “Shanghai Spirit”. The Qingdao Declaration also reiterated that it is by following the “Shanghai Spirit” that the SCO stands the test of international vicissitudes and becomes an extremely important and stable force for the current international situation which is full of uncertainties. The “Shanghai Spirit” highly matches with the traditional Chinese concept of “unity and harmony”, which transcends such outdated concepts as clash of civilizations and Cold War and zero-sum mentality. It has become the core value of the SCO, and will continue to provide strong guarantee for the development and growth of the SCO. Meanwhile, the “Shanghai Spirit” has in fact revealed the basic norms which should be abided by in state-to-state exchanges. It completely conforms to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations (UN), which will surely exert positive and far-reaching influence on the building of a new type of international relations for all countries.

Second, the awareness of a community with a shared future has been formed. The building of a community with a shared future for mankind is a major initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping who takes the front line of the times, grasps the direction of human progress and focuses on the common interests of all countries. As the SCO member states live side by side as neighbors with similar development tasks and closely interlinked destiny, they should play a leading role in building a community with a shared future. At this Summit, all parties established the common vision of a community with a shared future for mankind in the Qingdao Declaration and uttered the loudest voice of sharing weal and woe and the same destiny of our times. This will not only be conducive to deepening the mutually beneficial cooperation among the SCO member states and injecting inexhaustible impetus into the development of the SCO, but also promote the common development and prosperity of the region and the world at large.

Third, the SCO propositions on global governance have been put forward. President Xi Jinping pointed out that we should adhere to the outlook of global governance on the basis of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, constantly reform and improve the global governance system, and push all countries to join hands in building a community with a shared future for mankind. The Qingdao Declaration also emphasized that the SCO will promote a more equitable and balanced international order on the basis of equal, common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. This is the political consensus reached by the member states based on common needs, contributing the SCO wisdom to the improvement of global governance. Global governance is the common cause of all countries. The SCO has the responsibility and capability to play a constructive role in this regard. I believe that as the SCO continues to develop and grow, it will surely become an important and active force in the process of global governance.

II. Q: The Qingdao Summit adopted a series of cooperation documents covering such multiple areas as politics, security, economy and people-to-people and cultural engagement. How do you evaluate the achievements of this Summit?

A: The original aspiration of the SCO is to jointly strive for stability and promote development, which is also the consistent theme of the SCO. At the Qingdao Summit, all parties agreed to strengthen cooperation in various aspects for building a community with a shared future. To sum up, there are major achievements in the following five aspects:

The first is that there has been a new plan for the development of the SCO. The scale of the big family of the SCO has become ever larger with more and more members, but solidarity and mutual trust are the fine traditions of the SCO. The Qingdao Declaration reiterated that all parties will further develop good-neighborly and friendly relations and turn mutual borders into borders of lasting peace and friendship. The Qingdao Summit adopted the implementation outline for the Treaty on Long-term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation of the SCO Member States in the coming five years, and put forward a series of major cooperation measures, planning a roadmap for the development of the SCO in the coming five years.

The second is that new measures have been put forward in security cooperation. The Qingdao Summit has ratified a three-year program of cooperation to combat the "three forces" and other important documents which focus on the major threats that influence regional security, and conform to the common demand of various parties. The documents are of important realistic significance in that they have clear targets and are feasible. The Qingdao Summit also adheres to a forward-looking vision, pays attention to preventing extreme thoughts from spreading, and has formulated countermeasures to this end. Through the joint message from heads of the SCO member states to young people, the Summit calls on the vast young people to set up the correct values, and consciously resist extreme thoughts, so as to contribute positive energy to regional peace and stability.

The third is that new impetus has been injected into economic cooperation. The Qingdao Summit has adopted multiple practical cooperation documents with great significance and wide coverage, involving numerous fields including trade facilitation, food security and customs cooperation, which is conducive to further promoting the in-depth and practical development of cooperation among various countries. In particular, the Summit announced the joint statement on promoting trade facilitation, which calls for the maintenance of the multilateral trade system with the rules of the World Trade Organization as its core and the building of an open world economy, thus sending out the unanimous voice of upholding multilateralism and opposing protectionism. More and more countries have realized that engaging in construction behind closed doors will not work, while coordinated development is a general trend. We are glad to see that the Belt and Road Initiative has gained more extensive support, and that new progress has constantly been made in the integration of the development strategies of various countries and regional cooperation initiatives.

The fourth is that new outcomes have been made in people-to-people and cultural cooperation. The SCO pays high attention to environmental protection problems. Leaders of the member states have jointly ratified the concept of environmental protection cooperation, setting up the strategic goal of committing to maintaining ecological balance and realizing green and sustainable development. In addition, various parties also agreed to continue carrying out productive cooperation in culture, education, science and technology, health, tourism, youth, women, media, sports and other fields.

The fifth is that a new situation has been opened up for external exchanges. The SCO has always upheld the principle of openness, equality, inclusiveness and transparency in external exchanges. Our friend circle has been constantly expanded. This Summit was not only attended by principals sent by the UN and other long-term cooperative partners, but also by the high representatives from the Eurasian Economic Union, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for the first time. The SCO Secretariat also signed cooperation documents with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. These all embody that the international community highly recognizes the cooperation concepts of the SCO, and pays more and more attention to the growing influence of the SCO.

III. Q: President Xi Jinping delivered important speeches at the Qingdao Summit. We have noticed that there are many new concepts in his speeches. What kind of important influence will these new concepts and propositions of President Xi Jinping exert on the future development of the SCO?

A: At the SCO Qingdao Summit, President Xi Jinping delivered several important speeches, in which he comprehensively summarized the development progress and useful experience since the establishment of the SCO 17 years ago, systematically mapped out the development of the SCO in the future and made clear the general direction.

Xi Jinping stressed that the “Shanghai Spirit” is the soul and shared asset of the SCO, which should be adhered to and carried forward. We should, guided by the “Shanghai Spirit”, continue to work together and cooperate sincerely to push the SCO, the new comprehensive organization, to be an example of regional cooperation.

President Xi Jinping put forward the outlooks on development, security, cooperation, civilization and global governance. The five outlooks summarized the basic concept of building a new type of international relations, adding new epochal connotation to the “Shanghai Spirit” and endowing the SCO with new historical missions.

President Xi Jinping called on all parties to work closely to build an SCO community with a shared future, move toward a new type of international relations, and build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity. As agreed by all parties, “the formation of a common vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind” was written into the Qingdao Declaration, becoming the most important political consensus and goal that the eight SCO member states strive for.

President Xi Jinping also suggested that the SCO should, in line with the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, advance the “Belt and Road” construction, promote the alignment of the development strategies of various countries and build a new engine to achieve common development and prosperity, opening up broader space and prospects for the SCO to conduct mutually beneficial cooperation.

The above mentioned important proposals put forward by President Xi Jinping completely match with the development requirements of the SCO, the common interests of various countries in the world as well as the epochal trend of the development and progress of the world, which will not only boost vigorously the SCO’s own development, but also be conducive to promoting the peace and prosperity of the region and the world at large.

Ⅳ. After the Qingdao Summit, the SCO will embark on a new journey. Facing the new situation and new tasks, what issues should the SCO focus on? What measures will China take to advance the development of the SCO?

A: Just as President Xi Jinping mentioned in his speeches delivered at the Qingdao Summit, the development of the world today faces both opportunities and challenges. The road ahead, bumpy as it may be, will lead to a promising future. This is the general situation and environment that the SCO faces in the future. We believe that to maintain the healthy and stable development of the SCO, we must tangibly and well implement various consensuses reached by leaders of all countries at the SCO Qingdao Summit.

First, we should stick to the development orientation of the SCO. At the beginning of its establishment, the SCO has established the principle of “not targeting any countries and international organizations”, and formed a model of cooperation featuring partnership instead of alliance, and dialogue rather than confrontation. All member states should continuously uphold the “Shanghai Spirit”, hold high the banner of peace, development and cooperation, seek no exclusionary clubs, and have no geopolitical calculations. We should actively promote the building of a new type of international relations characterized by mutual respect, fairness and justice and win-win cooperation, and join force to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Second, we should focus on deepening practical cooperation. All member states should seize the period of development and opportunity in the next 5 to 10 years to further cement the cooperation foundation of the SCO, innovate ways of cooperation, enrich the connotation of cooperation, and ensure that cooperation in three major pillar areas of security, economy, and people-to-people and cultural engagement to advance side by side, so as to let the SCO release increasingly stronger cooperation potential in safeguarding regional peace and stability, pursuing common development and prosperity as well as promoting exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, thus bringing more tangible security and development dividends to the people of all countries in the region.

Third, we should promote the improvement of global governance. The Qingdao Declaration put forward that all member states support the improvement of the global governance system and support the UN to play a core role in this regard. The SCO, with 8 full members, 4 observer states and 6 dialogue partners, can form a synergy of 18 countries. If the SCO actively carries out communication and cooperation with the UN and other international and regional organizations, it can contribute the strength of the SCO to the enrichment and improvement of the global governance system and to advancing international order to develop towards a more just and reasonable direction.

As a founding member state of the SCO, China has always regarded the SCO as one of its diplomatic priorities. During the Qingdao Summit, President Xi Jinping announced a series of important measures China has taken to support the SCO cooperation, including offering to train 2,000 law enforcement officers for all parties and providing 3,000 training opportunities of human resources development in the next three years. China will set up an RMB 30 billion equivalent special lending facility within the framework of the SCO Inter-bank Consortium, set up a China-SCO legal service committee, and build a demonstration zone in Qingdao for China-SCO local economic and trade cooperation. These measures combine China’s advantages and are closely linked to the needs of all parties, which are conducive to the development of the SCO and win widespread popularity.

“A good harvest depends on hard work”. The SCO is a new type of organization built upon advanced concepts. Today, the SCO starts again from China and sets sail again from Qingdao. China will, as always, work with all member states to comprehensively implement outcomes of the Summit, so as to make the SCO enjoy closer solidarity, more efficient cooperation, more energetic actions and brighter prospects.

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