China shifts gears on building ties with international bodies
MOSCOW - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday concluded its week-long Eurasian trip with a series of proposals to promote regional cooperation between China and the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries as well as among members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
Li’s proposals mark China’s efforts to inject new impetus into regional cooperation, showing the importance China attaches to the role of regional mechanisms as well as its determination to enhance cooperation and safeguard regional peace and stability. Observers hold that China has developed a pattern of regional cooperation different from those by the West, which better meets the interests of the countries concerned, rendering it a comparative advantage in carrying out more mutually beneficial and win-win regional cooperation. The SCO represents a new type of regional cooperation initiatives that takes into full consideration the realities of relevant countries with an aim to realize mutual benefits on the basis of equality, said Sun Zhuangzhi, secretary-general of the SCO Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Fifteen years after its founding, the Chinainitiated SCO has borne rich fruits in trade, security cooperation and people-topeople exchanges, said Sun, adding that in the Central Asian region, the SCO role has proved irreplaceable in maintaining stability and significant to driving growth. During the 15th SCO Prime Ministers’ Meeting held in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, Li made a six-pronged proposal to enhance cooperation within SCO in a wide range of fields including security, economic development and production capacity. On security, the Chinese premier urged all members to observe a concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, suggesting deepening information exchanges and cooperation in law enforcement so as to ensure the security of peoples, institutions, enterprises and personnel of SCO members. As for the alignment of their development strategies, Li called for more efforts to promote the coordination and dovetailing of economic policies, citing the growing synergy between Chinaproposed Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) as an example. As to enhancing production capacity cooperation, Li said China is ready to join efforts to make this a pillar of regional trade cooperation. Major cooperation projects, including a power plant in Uzbekistan, an oil refinery in Kyrgyzstan, a cement plant in Tajikistan and a ChinaUzbekistan industrial park, are carrying on smoothly, Li added. Li added that China is ready to smooth e-commerce customs clearance, strengthen logistics support, and strengthen cooperation in environmental technology and building green economies. Regarding regional financing, the Chinese premier urged all member states to take full use of regional platforms like the SCO Interbank Consortium, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road Fund and the BRICS New Development Bank, among others. For people-topeople exchanges, Li pledged more scholarships for SCO members to study in China. For their parts, leaders of SCO member states vowed to maintain regional security and stability and propel regional economic cooperation.