Chinese President Xi Jinping called for fighting “terrorism, separatism and extremism” in a speech at the 17th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana on Friday, as India and Pakistan were accepted into the organization’s fold.
President Xi also said China would like to cooperate with all SCO member countries to strengthen the community of shared destiny and establish a secure and prosperous homeland.
Xi on regional cooperation
Xi suggested that new and old members should enhance mutual trust and political support for each other. He suggested establishing the long-term good-neighborliness treaty for the next five years and intensifying exchanges and cooperation between legislatures, parties and judiciary.
Xi proposed that the organization draw up a cooperation plan to combat the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism for the next three years, in a bid to strengthen the anti-terror capacity of the SCO member states.
China has expressed concerns over the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and called for all the members to support Afghan peace process, Xi said.
He added that China is supportive of regional and local collaboration on economic development and encourages discussion on a trade facilitation agreement in the SCO and constitution of an SCO Development Bank that will help investments.
The Chinese president meanwhile urged the promotion of youth exchanges and cooperation on sanitation, disaster relief, environmental protection, sports and tourism. He also proposed to set up a media cooperation mechanism in the SCO and offered to host the first media summit of the SCO.
He concluded with a Chinese pledge to contribute an additional 10 million yuan (1.47 million US dollars) to the SCO Secretariat to facilitate its work, as China prepares to take over the rotating chair of the SCO and host its annual summit in June 2018.
Press communique on SCO expansion
In a press communique at the end of the summit, the SCO members said that granting full membership to India and Pakistan carried historical significance and will boost the organization’s development and potential.
The leaders strongly underscored their determination to jointly fight international terrorism and agreed to develop cooperation measures to combat crime in the information and communications sphere as well.
They also insisted on political and diplomatic means as the “only choice” to settle regional conflicts, and exchanged views on regional and international issues such Afghanistan, the Middle East, North Africa and Ukraine.
The communique praised the results of the Belt and Road Forum held in mid-May in Beijing and called for continued consultations to establish the SCO Development Bank and SCO Development Fund.
The leaders also spoke of enhancing cooperation in health, culture, environmental protection, science, technology, sport and tourism, as well as in the cultural and humanitarian spheres.
India, Pakistan join SCO
Previously observer states, India and Pakistan kick-started the formal process of joining the SCO as full members last year.
A regional political, economic and security organization, the SCO was established in 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Speaking at the summit on Friday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed India's membership as a "landmark moment in the journey of the SCO" and vowed India would play a "constructive and active role" in the group.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif described the SCO as "an anchor of stability in the region" and thanked his new partners for their "staunch support" in Pakistan's bid to join.