China's message of peace and harmony at SCO Summit
Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in the coastal city of Qingdao on Saturday and Sunday. In his keynote speech, President Xi reaffirmed China's will in seeking peaceful coexistence, common prosperity, shared aspiration, and win-win cooperation.
China has constantly pursued, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, peace and prosperity for the entire world and urged all nations to partner China in maintaining global peace and stability, promoting social progress and a better standard of life, and building "a community with a shared future for mankind".
President Xi reiterated a series of humane and international principles at the summit for constructing a harmonious society. He also stated the strategies for peace and prosperity, which include: Seeking common ground; forging closer ties through cultural bonds and people-to-people exchanges; combating "the three evils" of terrorism, separatism and extremism and maintaining the "Shanghai Spirit".
It is self-explanatory that the world suffers from the scourges of trade friction and a zero-sum game more than ever. These challenges are most likely to stem from multilateralism, protectionism and misunderstandings. To free the world from these challenges and build a moderately prosperous society, China has persistently stood against "only my backyard" or "winner-take-all" mindsets and called the world to pursue common aspiration, shared destiny and opening-up policy.
"We should promote open and inclusive cooperation for win-win outcomes. We should reject self-centered, short-sighted and closed-door policies. We should uphold WTO rules and support the multilateral trading system so as to build an open world economy," Xi said at the 18th SCO Summit. He added that the world had to deny the mentality of the "Cold War" and "confrontation between blocs".
President Xi has unfolded the will of the Chinese nation to the world at international conferences and summits that China upholds the road of peaceful development and seeks harmony rather than hegemony and communication rather than confrontation. At the summit, Xi stressed building a community with a shared future and pointed out that "the Shanghai Spirit is our shared asset and the SCO is our shared home." To this end, he proposed strengthening "mutual trust" and "shared peace", combating "the three evils" and conducting "Peace Missions" and "counter-terrorism exercises".
The summit also led China to cement its strategic partnership and economic ties with the state members and support the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the frame of the SCO. For instance, in the trilateral meeting chaired by President Xi and attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin – who received the first Friendship Medal from Xi a day before the summit – and Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga, the three sides pledged to strengthen trilateral cooperation and push the construction of the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor. President Xi also had discussions with other heads of states to enhance their bilateral ties and mutual trust and contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative.
The recent SCO Summit is believed to play an integral role in mitigating the regional challenges and conflicts. According to the state members, the potential for cooperation in terms of trade and counterinsurgency has been increased with the inclusion of Pakistan and India as full members in the SCO. Based on the press communique issued by the SCO members, the heads of state vowed to support the mediation of conflicts in the region, including Afghanistan, which is one of the four observer countries, with respect to international principles. They further signaled the significance of implementation of the Iran nuclear deal. The state members approved the 2019-2021 program of cooperation for combating terrorism, separatism and extremism. Developing the multilateral trade system with the Word Trade Organization (WTO) and building an open world economy also was stressed in the communique. The leaders further ratified an action plan for implementing the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation of SCO Member States covering the next five years.
To consider President Xi's statements and the contents of the communique issued by the state members, there remains no doubt that neither the SCO nor China poses a threat to the word. That is to say, both the SCO and China seek a peaceful mechanism for resolving regional challenges and both are in pursuit of peace, harmony and development.
In brief, China has adopted the "smile diplomacy" in its relations with the outside world. She urges all nations to have heart-to-heart exchanges, build mutual trust, practice upon international principles and the Shanghai Spirit, maintain global peace, and treat one another with the spirit of brotherhood so as to build a moderately prosperous society which is void of extremism, multilateralism and poverty – this is the message of China everywhere, including the recent SCO Summit.
The author is an Afghan journalist and freelance writer based in Beijing.