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Premier Li calls for openness, cooperation among SCO members

Updated: Oct 13,2018 4:28 AM     CGTN

China is willing to seek better alignment between its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the development strategies of the other member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), making the SCO a model for openness, cooperation and common development among countries in the region, Premier Li Keqiang said at the 17th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO in Tajik capital Dushanbe on Oct 12.

Premier Li and the leaders of other SCO countries signed a joint communique and approved a number of resolutions and documents on cooperation in areas such as economy and trade, science and technology as well as environmental protection.

Proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, the BRI comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes.

In June, China’s port city Qingdao hosted the first SCO summit after India and Pakistan joined the bloc as full members. President Xi and other leaders attending the summit reached important consensus on upholding the Shanghai Spirit, enhancing solidarity and trust among new and old SCO members, building a closer SCO community with a shared future, and promoting the building of a community with shared future for mankind, Premier Li said during the meeting.

He added that China would like to work together with other SCO countries to carry out the Qingdao Declaration and play a bigger role in promoting regional peace and stability and common development among member states.

The eight SCO countries — India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — should enhance security cooperation, multilateral economic and trade cooperation and international capacity cooperation, said the Premier.

He said the SCO member countries should firmly adhere to free trade and a multilateral trading system, further promote liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment.

Premier Li called on the countries to improve regional interconnectivity and accelerate the building of cross-border road and railway networks among them.

He also called for more cooperation among SCO members in areas such as the digital economy, intelligent manufacturing, biological technology and clean energy.

The countries should further promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges, he noted.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev condemned the trade protectionism and unilateral sanctions of “certain countries,” saying that they can sometimes transform into political blackmail, which can lead to stern tests for global strategic stability.

Medvedev hailed the SCO as an ideal platform to facilitate cooperation among member states.

Besides for attending the SCO meeting, the Premier is on an official visit to Tajikistan. He will later travel to the Netherlands and take part in the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Belgium’s capital Brussels.

The Shanghai Spirit is defined by mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development among SCO member states.

The meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO, also known as the prime ministers’ meeting, is the second highest-profile meeting of the organization after the SCO summit, which is attended by the heads of state.