ST PETERSBURG — China is willing to work closely with government departments of defense in member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in hopes of promoting a sound and steady development of defense and security cooperation within the bloc.
The statement was made by Chinese defense minister Chang Wanquan while addressing a meeting of defense ministers and deputy minister from SCO member states held on June 30 in St Petersburg, a major cultural city of Russia.
In his speech, Chang stressed it is important for member states to cooperate in good faith and make continuous efforts in expanding the SCO.
While working together in fighting hard against the “three evil forces” — terrorism, extremism, and separatism — and being firm with the cause of safeguarding regional security and stability, SCO member states should actively participate in Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, Chang suggested.
The Silk Road Economic Belt, which was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 and later dubbed as the “Belt and Road” initiatives together with the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, is aimed at reviving the ancient trade route between Asia and Europe.
According to Chang, different member states have been working hard to carefully implement the consensus reached by their heads of state and have made good progress in pragmatic cooperation in diverse fields, contributing a lot to maintaining regional peace and stability.
Chang, also State Councilor in China, hoped that Tuesday’s meeting would make a good preparation for advancing security cooperation at the forthcoming the 15th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) scheduled to be held in the Russian city of Ufa next week.
At the meeting held on June 30, the SCO defense officials discussed development prospects of cooperation and exchanged ideas over international and regional security issues. They also signed a host of documents, including a joint communiqué of SCO member states.
The SCO now groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as member states, with Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan as observers and Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka as dialogue partners.