Premier Li Keqiang presided over the 14th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the Zhengzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center on the morning of Dec 15. The Premier made a proposal for the SCO to build, as a priority, six cooperation platforms while keeping focused on the three traditional areas of cooperation, i.e. security, economy and people-to-people exchange. The purpose is to press ahead for concrete results in friendly cooperation with all sides. Listed below are the six proposed platforms:
First, cement the security cooperation platform. It is important to speed up implementation of the Border Control Cooperation Agreement among SCO members, and to explore the signing of an anti-extremism convention, strengthen the drug control mandate of the SCO, and support the national reconciliation process of Afghanistan. Given the intertwining traditional and nontraditional security threats, a strong guarantee should be given to ensure political security and social stability for countries concerned and foster a reliable security environment for regional development.
Second, build the production capacity cooperation platform. China’s mature technology and quality production capacity could well be used to meet the development needs of countries in the region. China stands to offer affordable and quality equipment and project contracting services. Joint ventures may be set up locally to promote local production and processing and create more jobs for the local people for mutual benefit. China and Kazakhstan, the first among SCO members to start production capacity cooperation, have achieved major results regarding the working and financing mechanisms and early harvest list, with over 10 projects already being launched or in the pipeline. China will be happy to share its experience regarding production capacity cooperation within the SCO framework. Priority projects may be conducted based on countries’ actual needs with an emphasis on joint participation. Acting on the principles of government guidance, independent decision-making by enterprises and market-based operation, a chain of industrial cooperation could be formed that is internationally competitive.
Third, speed up the building of the platform for connectivity cooperation. Key transport infrastructure projects like roads and railways need to be carried out in a planned and phased manner. The possibility may be explored to form a Eurasian connectivity network with Central Asia as the hub. The China-Europe freight trains need to operate at higher efficiency. The Chinese city of Lianyungang could be built into an international logistics park. And satellite navigation cooperation needs to be strengthened among SCO members.
Fourth, innovate the financial cooperation platform. The SCO InterBank Consortium (IBC) arrangement needs to be put to good use and its membership expansion needs to be conducted steadily, with priority being given to supporting larger projects. China has provided a credit line of $27.1 billion in total for SCO members, and set up the China-Eurasia Economic Cooperation Fund designed to help member states, observer states and dialogue partners alike, with the first batch of projects already being launched. Acting according to multilateral rules and procedures, China will actively seek support for SCO projects from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the BRICS New Development Bank and other financial institutions. China will work with parties concerned and consider establishing an SCO development bank at an appropriate time. China supports expanding the local currency settlement arrangement among SCO members and calls for practical results in SCO currency swap cooperation with a view to jointly fending off financial risks.
Fifth, build the platform for regional trade cooperation. In light of the reality of the region and the interests and concerns of various parties, efforts need to be made to further facilitate and liberalize trade and investment. SCO economic and trade ministers will be charged with the task of exploring ways to achieve the goal. New forms of trade could be explored and the SCO e-commerce union could be established as quickly as possible to facilitate efficient and convenient cross-border e-commerce among companies of SCO members.
Sixth, build the platform for cooperation bearing on social undertakings and people’s well-being. Cooperation in agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery could be expanded and agro-technology and grain production be improved to ensure food security. Joint efforts are needed to improve the environment cooperation initiative and advance the formulation and implementation of the plan of green Silk Road envoys. China will offer 20,000 government scholarships per year to other SCO members in the next five years, and will meet the target of training 2,000 professionals for other SCO members between 2015 and 2017. Steps may be taken to simplify visa policies to speed up tourism cooperation and people-to-people exchange among SCO members.