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Li Keqiang Attends the 18th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

On the morning of November 2, 2019 local time, Premier Li Keqiang attended the 18th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Tashkent. Prime Minister Abdulla Nigmatovich Aripov of Uzbekistan, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of Russia, Prime Minister Askar Mamin of Kazakhstan, Prime Minister Mukhammedkaliy Abylgaziyev of Kyrgyzstan, Prime Minister Qohir Rasulzoda of Tajikistan, representatives of the governments of Pakistan and India and representatives of observer states attended the meeting.

Li Keqiang said in his speech, since its inception 18 years ago, the SCO has kept a sound growth momentum with fruitful cooperation in many fields. At the Bishkek Summit last June, President Xi Jinping proposed to forge a closer SCO community with a shared future. The international landscape has been going through complex and profound changes. Factors of instability and uncertainties are looming large, with flagging global growth. It is time that we in the SCO build on our unity and trust, diversify cooperation and meet challenges together. We should implement the consensus reached at the SCO summits and promote the SCO cooperation.

First, we need to cement security arrangements to bolster the foundation of development. We need to reinforce the Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure and positively study the setting-up of an SCO anti-narcotics coordination mechanism, take de-radicalization measures, jointly preserve stability and tranquility in the region and create a favorable external environment for economic and social endeavors in our own countries.

Second, we need to open up wider to expand the space for development. We need to jointly uphold world multilateral trade rules, support the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, oppose protectionism and build an open world economy. We need to advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation in the region, strengthen the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and regional cooperation initiatives and development strategies of fellow SCO members, and promote openness and cooperation to achieve mutual benefit and win-win and all-win results.

Third, we need to enhance connectivity to lay the groundwork for high-quality development. We need to swiftly address impediments to connectivity concerning policies, rules and standards through consultations, advance consultations on an SCO program for road development, and make good use of the cooperation mechanism among our railway administrations. We need to advance the development of connectivity networks, expand investment and trade, improve facilitation, reduce costs, increase regional trade, and expand the size of regional development.

Fourth, we need to nurture priority areas in innovation to boost the new drivers of growth. We need to fully harness the Internet Plus and promote the development trends of digital, Internet-based and smart technologies to better tailor our goods and services to the needs of consumers and upgrade our economic structure. China will contribute its efforts to the building of a technology transfer center and will launch the SCO International Youth Business Incubator next year.

Fifth, we need to put people first and share the benefits of development. We need to enhance cooperation in education, health and environmental protection. The Chinese side will host an SCO craftsmen workshop, a vocational skills contest and an SCO forum on traditional medicine in China, organize training programs for poverty eradication, and provide 1,000 free cataract surgeries for SCO members and observers in the next three years in the Lifeline Express International Sight Saving Mission.

Li Keqiang stressed, our achievements so far have ushered the SCO into a crucial period for new and even greater progress. Together, with a commitment to the Shanghai Spirit and the unity of purpose, we will deepen cooperation and make new contributions to the peace, stability, development and prosperity of our region and the wider world.

All participants fully affirmed the SCO’s new progress in development and cooperation over the past year, and expressed the willingness to seize the opportunity, adhere to the Shanghai Spirit, enhance solidarity and collaboration, and fully implement the outcomes of the Bishkek Summit. They also stand ready to uphold multilateralism and free trade, give play to the complementary advantages and potentials for cooperation, expand practical cooperation in all areas, and jointly combat terrorism and extremism, so as to promote their respective development and the prosperity and stability in the region.

Li Keqiang signed and issued a joint communique with the leaders of the participating member states, and approved a number of cooperation documents and resolutions in the fields of economy and trade, railways and digital economy of the SCO.

State Councilor and Secretary-General of the State Council Xiao Jie was present at the meeting.

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