We are pleased to republish below President Xi Jinping’s video address to the 23rd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), delivered on Tuesday 4 July 2023 and first published in English on Xinhua.
President Xi’s address is a powerful reiteration of China’s commitment to peace, multipolarity, multilateralism and the principles of UN Charter, and anyone reading it cannot but be struck by the dramatic contrast between China’s policy of peace and cooperation and the US’s policy of hegemonism.
Whereas the US has re-imposed crippling (and illegal) sanctions on Iran, China and the other countries of the SCO are welcoming Iran as a full member, increasing cooperation on economic development, environmental protection, trade, agriculture, technology and security challenges.
Whereas the US has worked for decades to undermine Afghanistan’s sovereignty, has waged a brutal war against it, and has stolen billions of dollars’ worth of Afghan assets, Xi calls for increased coordination among Afghanistan’s neighbours to increase humanitarian support and protect peace.
Whereas the US is waging a proxy war against Russia, providing ever-more powerful weaponry to Ukraine in an attempt to keep the conflict going as long as possible and to “fight to the last Ukrainian”, China is working with the SCO and other countries to promote dialogue and consultation, and to find a peaceful settlement to the conflict.
Whereas the US is expanding the NATO military bloc, and forming new military alliances such as AUKUS and the Quad, China proposes the Global Security Initiative – based on the principle of common security – and strongly opposes any new Cold War or camp-based confrontation.
Whereas the US attempts to use dollar hegemony to impose its will on other countries, Xi calls for the SCO to oppose unilateral sanctions, to scale up local currency settlement between member states, to expand cooperation on a sovereign digital currency, and create an SCO development bank.
Whereas the US and its allies in the West are engaged in McCarthyite suppression of Confucius Institutes and other forms of cultural exchange, Xi Jinping announces the creation of new scholarships for young scientists and language teachers to study and work in China.
China is standing firmly and consistently for a world of peace, cooperation and mutual benefit, and is working with other countries to build a community with a shared future for humanity. This is a project that all progressive and peace-loving people should promote and support.
Staying True to Our Founding Mission and Advancing Unity and Coordination to Realize Greater Development
Statement by H.E. Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
At the 23rd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Your Excellency Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
I wish to thank India for hosting the meeting of the Council of Heads of State as the current president of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
At this meeting, we are going to welcome Iran as a full member and sign the memorandum of obligations on the membership of Belarus. This will manifest the vitality of our SCO family. I offer my congratulations to the two countries.
Ten years ago, in view of the changes of the world, of our times and of the trajectory of history, I opined that mankind, living in the same global village, are increasingly becoming a community with a shared future in which everyone’s interest is closely interlinked. Since then, the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind has gained extensive recognition and support from the international community, and has been transforming from an idea to action and a vision to reality. At the forefront of this trend is the SCO, upholding this very concept and the Shanghai Spirit to build an SCO community with a shared future.
— We have followed our fine tradition of standing together through thick and thin, as passengers in the same boat should do, and we have firmly supported each other in standing up for our respective core interests. We have become trustworthy partners on our paths to development and national rejuvenation.
— We have acted out the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, accommodated each other’s legitimate security concerns, and responded to both traditional and nontraditional security challenges. Together we have safeguarded peace and tranquility in the region, and fostered a favorable environment for countries in the region to pursue development and prosperity.
— We have embraced the development philosophy of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared growth, synergized our national development strategies and regional cooperation initiatives, and nurtured new growth areas for our cooperation in economy and trade, connectivity, energy, agriculture, finance, and innovation. This has helped promote coordination in our economic development.
— We have carried forward the spirit of good-neighborliness, and advocated equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness between civilizations. We have called for peaceful coexistence and harmonious development of different civilizations, and expanded people-to-people and cultural cooperation. We have enhanced the popular support for our state-to-state relations.
— We have upheld international fairness and justice, and opposed hegemonic, high-handed, and bullying acts. We have enlarged the circle of friends of our Organization, and built partnerships featuring dialogue instead of confrontation, cooperation instead of alliance. This has strengthened the progressive forces for world peace and stability.
The world today is undergoing both transformation and upheaval; changes unseen in a century are unfolding at a faster pace; human society faces unprecedented challenges. Unity or split, peace or conflict, cooperation or confrontation — these are the questions raised again by our times. My answer is this: the people’s wish for a happy life is our goal, and peace, development and win-win cooperation are the unstoppable trends of the times.
The SCO has been growing stronger in recent years. This means development opportunities as well as unprecedented risks and challenges. As the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore put it, “The sea of danger, doubt and denial around man’s little island of certainty challenges him to dare the unknown.” We must rise to the call of our times, keep in mind our founding mission, and stay in unity and coordination to bring more certainty and positive energy to world peace and development. To this end, I wish to make the following proposals:
First, we should keep to the right direction and enhance solidarity and mutual trust. Since its founding over 20 years ago, the SCO has withstood the test of the changing international landscape, and kept moving in the right direction of promoting solidarity, mutual trust, development and cooperation. We have accumulated valuable experience, and achieved hard-won development gains. Facts have shown that as long as we bear in mind the larger picture, shoulder our responsibilities and remain undisturbed by all sorts of distractions, we will be able to protect and promote the security and development interests of our member states.
We should step up strategic communication and coordination, bridge differences through dialogue, and replace competition with cooperation. We should truly respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, and firmly support each other’s endeavor for development and rejuvenation. We should keep in mind the overall and long-term interests of our region, and make our foreign policies independently. We must be highly vigilant against external attempts to foment a new Cold War or camp-based confrontation in our region. We must resolutely reject any interference in our internal affairs and the instigation of “color revolutions” by any country under whatever pretext. The future of our development must be held firmly in our own hands.
Second, we should maintain regional peace and safeguard common security. Sustaining peace and security in this region is our common responsibility. China stands ready to work with all sides to implement the Global Security Initiative, promote the settlement of international disputes through dialogue and consultation, and encourage political settlement of international and regional hotspots, so as to forge a solid security shield in our region.
We need to upgrade SCO security cooperation, and continue to conduct joint operations. We should crack down hard on the forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism such as the “East Turkistan” elements, drug trafficking, and cyber and transnational organized crimes. We should move faster to strengthen the mechanisms for our law enforcement and security cooperation, and expand cooperation in the nontraditional security fields, including digital, biological and outer space security. We should continue to utilize platforms such as the mechanism of coordination and cooperation among Afghanistan’s neighbors to increase humanitarian support to Afghanistan, and encourage the Afghan authorities to establish a broad-based and inclusive political structure and embark on the path of peace and reconstruction.
Third, we should focus on practical cooperation and expedite economic recovery. Promoting economic growth is a common task for all countries in the region. China stands ready to work with all sides to implement the Global Development Initiative, keep to the right direction of economic globalization, oppose protectionism, unilateral sanctions and the overstretching of national security, and reject the moves of setting up barriers, decoupling and severing supply chains. We should make the pie of win-win cooperation bigger, and ensure that more development gains will be shared more fairly by people across the world.
We need to enhance the connection of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with development strategies of various countries and regional cooperation initiatives. We should further promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, speed up the development of port infrastructure and regional and international logistic corridors, and ensure stable and smooth functioning of regional industrial and supply chains. Ten years ago I proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, and on its tenth anniversary, China will hold the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. I welcome your participation. We should work together to broaden the Belt and Road as a “path of happiness” benefiting the whole world.
China proposes that the SCO scale up local currency settlement between member states, expand cooperation on sovereign digital currency, and promote the establishment of an SCO development bank. China is ready to share market opportunities and development experience, and implement the capacity-building program to empower young professional farmers. China will carry out digital technology training programs in collaboration with the China-SCO Big Data Cooperation Center, and host an SCO national green development forum.
There are already a number of ministerial meeting mechanisms under the SCO framework for practical cooperation in various areas. China has also established cooperation platforms such as the local economic and trade cooperation demonstration area, and the demonstration base for agricultural technology exchange and training. We should make full use of these mechanisms and platforms to help us tackle the vexing issues in our practical cooperation and facilitate high-quality development of SCO economies.
Fourth, we should strengthen exchanges and mutual learning and forge closer bonds between our peoples. All nations in the region aspire to see harmonious development of different civilizations. We welcome all sides to work together to implement the Global Civilization Initiative, promote inclusiveness and coexistence among all civilizations, and increase mutual understanding and friendship among all nations.
We should further deepen cooperation in education, science and technology, culture, health, sport and media, support the work of non-official organizations such as the SCO Committee on Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, and organize more events for people-to-people exchanges. In the coming three years, China will provide SCO member states with 1,000 International Chinese Language Teachers Scholarships, offer 3,000 “Chinese Bridge” summer camp opportunities, and invite 100 young scientists to China for scientific research exchanges. China will also host events on rural revitalization and climate response. Your participation will be most welcome.
Fifth, we should practice multilateralism and improve global governance. All countries in the region pursue fairness and justice. We should advocate the common values of humanity, uphold the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law, and oppose hegemonism and power politics. We should make global governance more just and equitable, and advance modernization of the entire humanity through collective efforts to promote equal rights, equal opportunities and fair rules for all. We should support more SCO engagements with observer states, dialogue partners and other regional and international organizations such as the UN, and jointly promote world peace, drive global development and safeguard the international order.
The Chinese people are rallied behind the Communist Party of China to pursue Chinese modernization. It is the modernization of a huge population, of common prosperity for all, of material and cultural-ethical advancement, of harmony between humanity and nature, and of peaceful development. With these main attributes, it has created a new form of human advancement. China hopes to share new development opportunities with SCO members and all countries around the world through its achievements in modernization, and together make the world a better place.
China congratulates President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on assuming the presidency of the Council of Heads of State, and will work with all member states to actively support Kazakhstan’s presidency.
A just cause finds great support, and a journey with many companions gets far. The SCO’s development accords with the trend of our times and goes along with the direction of human progress. Through our joint efforts, it will definitely grow from strength to strength.