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Premier Li arrives in Sochi for SCO meeting

Premier Li Keqiang arrived in the Russian city of Sochi on Nov 30 to attend the 16th meeting of the Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of Government (Prime Ministers).

The SCO meeting, scheduled to take place on Nov 30 and Dec 1, is the first of its kind after the organization’s membership expanded in June to include India and Pakistan.

Premier Li will expound the principles and policies of the major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era, and its significance to ties between China and the SCO countries, Assistant Foreign Minister Li Huilai said.

China will work with other countries to promote the Belt and Road construction and reach new consensus on the alignment of development strategies, connectivity, industrial capacity cooperation and cultural exchanges, he said.

Founded in 2001, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan are full members of the SCO.

It has four observer states, namely Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia, and six dialogue partners; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

The SCO now covers three-fifths of Eurasia and is home to almost half of the world’s population.

Before heading to Sochi, Premier Li met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Nov 29, with both sides agreeing to advance bilateral ties and strengthen cooperation.