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SCO PM meeting to boost pragmatic cooperation

Updated: Dec 14,2015 10:14 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — An upcoming prime ministers’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) hosted by China will not only boost pragmatic cooperation within the bloc, but also promote economic integration in the region.

Participants at the meeting, to be held from Dec 14-15 in Central China’s Zhengzhou, are expected to discuss SCO cooperation in trade, investment, finance, transportation and culture.

A statement will also be made on regional economic cooperation, reiterating support for regional development strategies including the China-proposed initiative on the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, or the Belt and Road Initiative.

Compared with the annual gathering of SCO heads of state, the prime ministers’ meeting focuses more on member countries’ development issues and their economic collaboration.

As the bloc has ushered in a new stage in its development with profound changes in the region and the whole world, a host of cooperation deals expected to be signed at the meeting will lift SCO members’ multilateral cooperation to a new height and provide a driving force for their security, stability and common development.

Security and economic cooperation are often regarded as the two “wheels” of the SCO, which groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan,

Since its founding in 2001, the increasingly influential bloc has made remarkable achievements in security-toughening and anti-terrorism cooperation.

Meanwhile, the SCO has also tried to give full play to its role in catalyzing economic cooperation in the region these years.

At a summit in Beijing in June 2012, the SCO member states adopted a wide range of important documents, including the Strategic Plan for the Medium-Term Development of the SCO, announcing that more importance would be attached to expanding regional economic cooperation in the next decade.

In a joint statement issued after last year’s SCO prime ministers’ meeting in the Kazakh capital of Astana, the member states vowed to accomplish more in their common development with new consensuses on deepening win-win cooperation, in the economic area in particular.

Facing an economic downturn in the wake of global economic downturn, the prime ministers’ meeting in Zhengzhou will mull measures to implement a development strategy until 2025, which was approved during an SCO summit in Russia in July this year.

Trade, industrial cooperation, infrastructure construction and finance are expected to top the agenda of the SCO prime ministers’ meeting this year.

Moreover, the prime ministers will also discuss ways to dovetail the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, an open and mutually beneficial initiative aimed at reviving the ancient Silk Road from China via Central Asia and Russia to Europe, aligned with the Russia-initiated Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

China, as the host of the SCO prime ministers’ meeting this year, will take it as a good opportunity to push forward the building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and coordinate development strategies of all SCO member states.

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