By He Yin, People’s Daily
Since it was founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has traveled an extraordinary journey over the past 20 years and grown into a major constructive force in the Eurasian region and global affairs.
Committed to the Shanghai Spirit, SCO members have enhanced cooperation in the political, economic, security, people-to-people and cultural fields, setting an example for a new type of international relations that features mutual respect, equity, justice and win-win cooperation.
As an important founding member of the SCO, China has greatly contributed to the development of the organization.
The SCO has always stuck to its original aspiration and mission of jointly striving for stability and promoting development over the past two decades.
From combating the three evil forces of separatism, extremism and terrorism to carrying out all-round cooperation, SCO members have forged a constructive partnership featuring non-alliance, non-confrontation and not targeting any third party, creating a new model for regional cooperation and making new contributions to regional peace and development.
The combined GDP of SCO member states has reached nearly $20 trillion, over 13 times more than that when the organization was established. Besides, SCO members’ total value of foreign trade has reached $6.6 trillion, an increase of 100 times from 20 years ago.
The SCO stands as a comprehensive regional cooperation organization that covers the largest area and population in the world, as well as an important force for promoting global peace and development.
It is generally believed by the international community that the SCO is exerting an ever-growing and more profound influence on the world.
Since it was established, the SCO has creatively initiated and followed through the Shanghai Spirit, which champions mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations and pursuit of common development.
The Shanghai Spirit has vitality and value that transcend geography boundaries and time. Against the backdrop of profound changes unseen in a century, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, member states of the SCO have firmly carried forward the Shanghai Spirit, supported each other in fighting the virus, and actively pushed ahead with cooperation in various fields, infusing positive energy into the steady development of the SCO, global fight against the pandemic, as well as multilateral cooperation.
Faced with the complex and fast-changing international situation, which is characterized by mounting unilateralism and protectionism, frequent regional hotspot issues and severe security threats, the international community looks forward to the SCO continuously contributing wisdom and strength to tackling global challenges, improving global governance, safeguarding and practicing multilateralism, and defending international fairness and justice.
Over the past two decades, China has always been committed to promoting the development of the SCO, and unremittingly strived for regional safety and stability as well as development and prosperity of countries involved.
Since 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping has attended meetings of the Council of Heads of Member States of the SCO for eight consecutive years, calling on SCO member states to jointly build a closer SCO community with a shared future, and proposing a series of important cooperation initiatives, which received positive responses from various parties.
Xi’s vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind was written into the Qingdao Declaration signed following the 18th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO held in 2018, and made a common aspiration of all member states of the SCO.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) put forward by Xi has synergized with SCO members’ national development strategies as well as region-wide cooperation initiatives such as the Eurasian Economic Union, generating major opportunities for regional development.
Last year, Xi proposed building a community of health for all, a community of security for all, a community of development for all, and a community of cultural exchanges for all under the framework of the SCO for the first time.
Xi’s proposals have enriched and developed the connotations of the Shanghai Spirit, boosted countries’ confidence in and charted the way forward for promoting the development of the SCO in the post-pandemic era.
Standing at a new historical starting point, the SCO shoulders new expectations and new responsibilities in the new era.
It’s believed that the SCO members will continue carrying forward the Shanghai Spirit, enhancing solidarity and mutual trust and deepening cooperation in various fields to open up new prospects for the development of the SCO.
China will continuously strive for building a closer SCO community with a shared future together with other SCO members, and make new contributions to building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.