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SCO members in one voice on deepening cooperation

Updated: Dec 16,2014 2:26 PM     Xinhua

ASTANA — Member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) vowed in Astana on Dec 15 to accomplish more in their common development with new consensuses on deepening win-win cooperation, in the economic area in particular.

The six countries — China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, will make collective efforts to strengthen the competitive edge of their economies, maintain economic stability, enhance investment environment, and expand industrial output, according to a joint statement issued after the 13th SCO prime ministers’ meeting in Astana.

The countries agreed to create convenient conditions for expanding cooperation in finance, banking, technology, innovation, energy, customs, agriculture, transport and telecommunications as well.

The prime ministers of the six countries pledged to bolster investment cooperation through projects in such areas as high-tech, transport and logistics, as well as telecommunication, read the statement.

They also emphasized the significance of enhancing bilateral and multilateral coordination and cooperation in the areas of health, culture, education and tourism.

Special attention, they said, must be paid to environment protection, so as to protect the potential of natural resources in SCO countries.

The six nations also expressed support to augment trade and investment cooperation with SCO observer states, dialogue partners as well as international and regional organizations, said the statement.

Aside from the six members, the SCO, founded in 2001, has Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan as observers. Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners of the bloc.

At the meeting, Premier Li Keqiang proposed to cultivate new areas for regional economic cooperation and speed up regional integration.

Hailing SCO’s pillar role in promoting peaceful development in Eurasia, Li told his counterparts that China will inaugurate priority projects under the Eurasian economic cooperation fund, coordinate with other SCO members to steadily foster the SCO development bank, which is designed as a long-term stable financing platform for regional cooperation.

Li voiced the hope that the SCO members further reduce trade and investment barriers, and improve customs clearance efficiency.

He called on SCO countries to enhance cooperation on people-to-people exchanges, and deepen counterterrorism cooperation and collaboration on combating drug trafficking.

Li, who has paid an official visit to Kazakhstan before attending the SCO meeting, said China is willing to export its capacity of producing steel, cement, glass and electricity, as well as processing natural and other resources to Kazakhstan, which initiated the Bright Road project aimed at revitalizing its economy.

The China-proposed Silk Road Economic Belt plan could be interconnected with the Bright Road and other similar proposals by other countries, Li said, encouraging all SCO members to discuss projects targeted at promoting infrastructure construction and upgrading industries.

Earlier on Dec 15, Li and his Kazakh counterpart Karim Masimov reached preliminary consensus on a capacity cooperation framework agreement worth $18 billion.

The funding of the project, according to preliminary planning, will come mostly from Kazakhstan and international organizations, while the rest will be loans from China.

Li also exchanged views with his Russian counterpart on bilateral cooperation during his stay in Astana.

He told Dmitry Medvedev that Beijing is ready to expand energy cooperation with Russia, and urged both sides to earnestly implement the memorandum of understanding they have signed on high-speed railway cooperation and work out a plan for the Moscow-Kazan project at an early date.

China is willing to increase investment in Russia’s Far East and take part in the construction of a leap-forward development zone in the region, and will actively support Russia in playing the role of rotating SCO chair and striving for fresh and significant breakthroughs in SCO practical cooperation, Li said.

For his part, Medvedev said Russia is ready to further enhance cooperation with China in such areas as oil and gas, nuclear energy, hydropower, innovation, aeronautic manufacturing and space technology.

Li wrapped up his Kazakhstan trip on Dec 15 after an official visit, as well as attending the SCO’s prime ministers’ meeting.

Kazakhstan is the first leg of Li’s three-nation Eurasian tour, which will also take him to Serbia and Thailand.

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