On July 4, 2023, India successfully hosted the 23rd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The world witnessed another “SCO moment”.
Leaders of the SCO member-states signed the New Delhi Declaration, and issued the statements on countering radicalisation and exploring cooperation in digital transformation.
The summit granted Iran full SCO membership, signed the memorandum of obligations of Belarus to join the SCO as a member-state, and adopted the SCO’s economic development strategy for the period until 2030.
A changing world
Our world, our times and history are changing in ways like never before. The world is grappling with geopolitical tensions, an economic slowdown, energy crises, food shortage and climate change. These challenges require the joint response of all countries. The major risks to world peace and development are power politics, economic coercion, technology decoupling and ideological contest. The central questions revolve around unity or split; peace or conflict; cooperation or confrontation. The international community must answer them.
Over the years, the SCO has been committed to becoming a community with a shared future for mankind, firmly supporting each other in upholding their core interests, and synergising their national development strategies and regional cooperation initiatives. Member-states have carried forward the spirit of good neighbourliness and friendship, and built partnerships featuring dialogue instead of confrontation, and cooperation instead of alliance. The SCO has been a guardian of and contributor to regional peace, stability and prosperity. These achievements manifest the common aspirations of all countries so that there is peace, development and win-win cooperation. The SCO’s leading and exemplary role can help strengthen unity and cooperation, seize development opportunities, and address risks and challenges. Going forward in a new era, the SCO member-states should strengthen strategic communication, deepen practical cooperation, and support each other’s development and rejuvenation. As we build a better homeland together, more certainty and positive energy will be brought to the world.
We should enhance solidarity and mutual trust for common security. There are some external elements that are orchestrating a new Cold War and bloc confrontation in our region. These developments must be addressed with high vigilance and firm rejection. SCO member-states need to upgrade security cooperation, and crack down in a decisive manner on terrorism, separatism and extremism, and transnational organised crimes. We need to pursue cooperation in digital, biological and outer space security, and facilitate political settlement when it comes to international and regional hot-spot issues.
We should embrace win-win cooperation to chart a path to shared prosperity. Protectionism, unilateral sanctions and decoupling undermine people’s well-being all over the world. It is imperative for the SCO to generate stronger momentum for collaboration in trade, investment, technology, climate actions, infrastructure and people-to-people engagement. To contribute to high-quality and resilient economic growth of the region, there need to be collective efforts to scale up local currency settlement between SCO members, expand cooperation on sovereign digital currency, and promote the establishment of an SCO development bank.
Need for multilateralism
We should advocate multilateralism to shape our common destiny. The SCO needs more engagements with its observer states, dialogue partners and other regional and international organisations such as the United Nations, to uphold the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law. Together, we are united in promoting world peace, driving global development and safeguarding the international order.
The SCO’s success story is part of the broader global partnership of emerging economies and developing countries. As changes to the global landscape unfold, emerging economies and developing countries continue their collective rise with greater cohesion and global weight. We are increasingly acting as a progressive force for world fairness and justice. Over the next two months, South Africa and India will preside over the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and G-20 summits, respectively. These will be significant moments to shape a multi-polar world order, promote inclusive global development, and improve international governance architecture.
China is committed to working with India, South Africa and other partners from the South to put into action the Global Security Initiative, Global Development Initiative and Global Civilization Initiative, to contribute to world peace, security and prosperity. We need to pursue common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, respect each country’s independent choice of the path to development and social system, and abide by the purpose and principles of the UN Charter. The reasonable security interests of all countries deserve consideration. Dialogue and diplomacy offer the best hope to address international disputes by peaceful means. And, security challenges in conventional and non-conventional domains should be dealt with in a holistic manner.
We need to forge a united, equal, balanced and inclusive global development partnership, promote humanity’s common values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, and get global governance to evolve in a fairer and more reasonable direction. Our voice should be loud and clear against hegemony, unilateralism, a Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation. And, illegal unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction measures must be rejected. In doing so, we will lead by example in safeguarding the development rights and legitimate interests of the developing world.