The 15th Meeting of Cultural Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States was held in Sanya, Hainan province, on May 16 and May 17.
Key discussions focused on achieving more in-depth and creative multilateral cultural cooperation.
In a keynote speech at the gathering, Luo Shugang, China’s minister of culture and tourism, expressed the goodwill of the Chinese government and people in seeking to build a shared community with other countries. He spoke highly of the cultural ministers meeting mechanism of SCO member states in promoting regional cultural cooperation and mutual understanding of the people.
Luo proposed further building up the “Shanghai spirit” through deepening cultural exchanges and the cooperation of member states. He suggested developing creative models to create cultural brands and suggested that local forces should be encouraged to join in cultural exchanges and cooperation.
He said China will continue to deepen exchanges and cooperation to enhance understanding and friendship with SCO member states, based on principles of mutual respect and mutual benefits, to provide ethical and cultural support for the healthy and sustainable development of the organization.
All participants agreed that cultural cooperation between SCO member states made remarkable progress in the past year, and reports presented at the meeting about diversified exchanges and cooperation clearly showed that bilateral and multilateral cooperation is growing deeper and wider.
The two-day meeting concluded on May 17 with the issuance of the 2018-20 Executive Plan. The representatives also joined in a news release welcoming India and Pakistan into the SCO and encouraging more direct contacts and practical exchanges of cultural organizations within SCO member states, as well as joint creation of cultural products and works.
“India has a long history of cultural exchanges with China and other SCO member states,” said Mahesh Sharma, India’s minister of culture. “Joining the SCO has provided a new platform, greater space and opportunities for exchanges and cooperation.”
“Culture brings people together. It is a binding force in the development of peaceful coexistence for humanity. It will be a win-win situation for China and India－both of which have a rich and diversified culture－to further explore and develop wider cultural exchanges and cooperation that could include tourism, education, science, archaeology, music, drama and even yoga.”
Vladimir Aristarhov, the Russian Federation’s first vice-minister of culture, said at the meeting: “More multilateral cooperation among smaller cities in SCO member states should be developed, and more diversified cooperation programs including education, cultural contests, art festivals and exchanges of students should be cultivated to produce cultural cohesion.”
At a welcome dinner on May 15, Shen Xiaoming, the governor of Hainan, said SCO member states are important tourist resources for the province, which is developing an international tourism and consumption center under the new development strategy laid down by the central government.
Hainan attaches great importance to the SCO tourism market and will build more platforms to promote cultural and tourism exchanges and cooperation with SCO member states, Shen said.