|Speech by H.E. Li Keqiang Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China at the 20th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization|
Beijing, 25 November 2021
Your Excellency Prime Minister Askar Mamin,
I am delighted to join you via video link for the 20th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). I wish to thank the government of Kazakhstan for its work in hosting the meeting.
Over the past twenty years since its founding, the SCO has followed and carried forward the Shanghai Spirit, and effectively promoted security and stability in the region and common development of SCO member states. At present, international and regional situations continue to undergo complex and profound changes. The world is seeing repeated resurgence of the coronavirus, a tortuous economic recovery and a widening development gap between the North and the South. Countries are faced with serious challenges in realizing sustainable development. President Xi Jinping has proposed at the Meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State to build a closer SCO community with a shared future. China is ready to work with other SCO members to enhance political mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation, and jointly step up to the mission of promoting prosperity and stability in the region. To this end, I wish to propose the following:
First, we need to forge a strong security shield and safeguard durable stability and security in the region. Regional countries now face multiple challenges in resolving hotspot issues, addressing the convergence of terrorism and drug-related crimes, and protecting cyber security. We need to consolidate the basis of our law enforcement and security cooperation, and jointly prevent the spillovers of security issues. We need to implement SCO legal instruments including the Program on Cooperation in Combating Terrorism, Separatism, and Extremism and the Convention on Combating Extremism, and enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and information security.
Second, we need to join hands in fighting the pandemic and enhance public health governance. COVID-19 continues to pose a grave challenge to the region, and protecting the life, safety and health of our people remains a long and arduous task. We need to well harness the SCO program of alerts about major epidemic emergency caused by infectious diseases, enhance cooperation on the research and development of vaccines and medicines, and improve the mechanism of joint epidemic response. We need to enhance policy and technical exchanges on pandemic containment, and explore new cooperation formats in digital healthcare, telemedicine, basic health services and personnel training, to raise our ability in response to public health crisis. We will continue vaccine cooperation with other SCO members by donating, exporting and promoting joint production of vaccines, to promote vaccine accessibility and affordability in countries of the region. China has been open and transparent in participating in the international cooperation on tracing the origins of the coronavirus. We call on the international community to remove disturbances and foster a sound environment for science-based origins-tracing. China is ready to facilitate the establishment of more traditional Chinese medicine centers in other SCO member states, so that traditional medicines may play a bigger role in enhancing our peoples’ health and well-being.
Third, we need to stay open for win-win results and support the economic recovery in all our countries. Deepening regional economic integration is the common choice of SCO member states. We need to uphold the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, work toward greater openness, keep improving the trade and investment environment, adopt more facilitation measures, and raise the scale and quality of trade. We need to enhance energy policy coordination, ensure steady operation of major energy cooperation projects, enhance the development and use of renewable energy, and keep energy supply stable and secure in the region. We need to bolster innovation-driven development, keep up with the latest trends in big data, information communication and artificial intelligence, and foster new cooperation highlights such as cross-border e-commerce and overseas warehouses, to power regional economic recovery and growth.
It is heartening that China’s trade volume with other SCO members in the first nine months of this year reached US$395 billion, up by nearly 40 percent over the same period last year. China will continue to harness the China-SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Zone and other platforms to expand our cooperation on international logistics, modern trade and two-way investment, import more quality agricultural produce and other marketable products from fellow SCO members, and promote a dynamic and sustainable balance in our trade. By organizing virtual lectures and other activities on e-commerce, we may intensify multilateral policy exchange, experience sharing and industrial complementarity in this field, to bolster the e-commerce sector in the region.
Fourth, we need to promote connectivity and ensure unimpeded flows in the regional economy. Connectivity is a key driver of development and revitalization. We need to harness the geographical advantages of SCO members, advance the building of transportation, energy and communications networks, and facilitate the upgrading of regional cooperation on connectivity. We need to fully implement the Agreement on International Road Transportation Facilitation, expedite the development of international multi-modal logistics centers, and better harness the existing “fast tracks” and “green lanes”, to keep regional logistics and supply chains stable and smooth. We need to open diversified financing channels, continue to explore viable approaches to the setting-up of an SCO development bank, and increase the share of local currency payment in the mutual settlements between SCO members, to provide strong financial support to infrastructure connectivity.
China welcomes active efforts by all parties to synergize national and regional development strategies, build global connectivity partnerships, and pursue high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. China is ready to work with all parties to make further use of the China-Europe Railway Express and realize regular operation of the China-Tajikistan-Uzbekistan highway as quickly as possible. China is launching the second phase of the special loans of the Inter-bank Consortium under the SCO, and will work closely with other parties to promote the steady and sound growth of practical cooperation in the region.
Fifth, we need to focus on people’s well-being and promote green, sustainable development. We need to be highly responsive to people’s needs. We need to resume personnel interflow in a careful and orderly way in light of the COVID situation, intensify cooperation on poverty alleviation, human resources, youth entrepreneurship, and disaster prevention and mitigation, and nurture new drivers of growth including cultural and creative industries and smart tourism, to help more people benefit from our cooperation. We need to deepen cooperation on environmental protection, climate change, biodiversity conservation and low-carbon economy. We need to follow through on the Concept of Cooperation between Members States of the SCO on Environmental Protection and the SCO Green Belt Program, make good use of the SCO Environment Information Sharing Platform, and strive for coordinated advances in both economic development and a green transition in a mutually reinforcing manner. China proposes establishing an SCO information sharing system for multilateral coordination on emergency response and university alliances in medicine, law and agriculture on a voluntary basis, to further broaden and deepen our cooperation on sustainable development.
As a Chinese proverb goes, “Those who take action will accomplish the goal; those who keep to the journey will reach the destination.” Next year, China will host the 21st Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of Member States of the SCO. We look forward to working with all parties to translate more consensus on cooperation into fruitful results to the greater benefit of people in the region and beyond.