BEIJING - China on Wednesday pledged to make a good start for the development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the next decade as it will take on the rotating chairmanship in mid June.
"In the year ahead, we will stay in close communication with all other member states to design the plan and organize major events. We will put forward ideas and initiatives on SCO cooperation and promote practical cooperation between member states," Assistant Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told the Lanting Forum on Wednesday.
With the SCO summit in the Kazakh capital of Astana a week away, the Lanting Forum has drawn about 200 Chinese officials, scholars, business executives and foreign diplomats.
In his speech entitled "Immense Prospects for the SCO," Cheng said the upcoming Astana summit will be a historic event, which will commemorate SCO's 10th anniversary and connects the past and future.
Founded in Shanghai in 2001, the regional organization groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
China will hold the rotating chair of the SCO from June until May 2012, after the Astana summit.
Cheng reviewed the SCO's journey of the past 10 years, saying it has turned into "an indispensable and constructive force in Eurasia" and a regional cooperation organization that its members states can trust and count on.
Cheng attributed the SCO's success story to its basic principle of adhering to the "Shanghai Spirit," which embraces mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversified civilizations and pursuit of common development.
"The choice we made 10 years ago to set up such an organization is correct, the path we have charted for its development is viable and the purposes pursued by the organization are right," Cheng said.
Looking to the future, Cheng said today's international and regional situations are much more complex than 10 years ago, as the SCO faces a more arduous task of consolidating regional security and promoting common development.
Cheng proposed the SCO continue to establish political mutual trust and enhance its ability to tackle various challenges.
He called on the organization to deepen security cooperation and strengthen its ability to resist real threats.
The SCO should advance practical cooperation and raise the capability for sustainable development in all aspects, Cheng said.
He also proposed stronger people-to-people and cultural exchanges to carry forward traditional friendship to future generations.
As a founding member of the SCO, China has always placed high importance on and taken an active part in the development of the organization, Cheng said.
"China's policy towards the SCO is a strategic choice made in light of the shared interests of all member states and will not change because of any single event at a particular time," Cheng said.
Some scholars also delivered speeches at the forum.
Initiated by the Chinese Foreign Ministry in December last year, the Lanting Forum is a platform for Chinese officials, scholars and social groups to discuss international issues and China's foreign policy.