While speaking at the 18th SCO meeting in China’s Shandong Province, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the presence of India and Pakistan at the summit was of “of great historic significance.” Xi further said that, “more member states means greater strength of the organization as well as greater attention and expectations of people of regional countries and the international community”.
Both India and Pakistan and India joined the SCO last year – with the body’s other members including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. On the other hand, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia have SCO observer status. President Xi also applauded the “unity” among the SCO members, which was interesting as the G7 summit – taking place at the same time – was concluding in a “disarray”.
“We also share greater responsibilities in maintaining regional security and stability and promoting development and prosperity”, Xi further told the SCO participants. “We reject selfish, shortsighted, closed, narrow policies. [We] uphold World Trade Organization rules, support a multilateral trade system, and building an open world economy,” he added.
On global peace and order, Xi was also clear in his message. “We should reject the Cold War mentality and confrontation between blocks,” Xi said. Also, without naming the United States, Xi argued that the world needs to “oppose the practices of seeking absolute security of oneself at the expense of the security of other countries.”
The SCO has witnessed substantial growth over the past few years in terms of membership and economic cooperation. This growth comes at the back of China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative that aims to promotes regional connectivity. In this regard, China also announced the future establishment of a 30-billion-yuan ($4.7 billion) special lending facility within the framework of the Inter-Bank Consortium of the SCO.