President Xi emphasizes multilateralism, joint efforts among SCO countries amid COVID-19

â–²File photo: VCG

China’s top leader emphasized that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries should adhere to multilateralism amid the COVID-19 pandemic, shedding light on the joint efforts needed to safeguard the international order, suggesting that China will actively consider the COVID-19 vaccine needs of SCO member countries. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO on Tuesday, emphasizing joint efforts in fighting COVID-19, global governance on international and regional affairs, and the extension of the SCO working mechanism. 

The leaders of the SCO members, including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and India, were scheduled to exchange views on Tuesday in order to further strengthen cooperation within the SCO framework in the context of the pandemic and major international and regional issues. 

Neighborly friendships will surpass beggar-thy-neighbor relations; mutually beneficial cooperation will replace zero-sum games, and multilateralism will surely defeat unilateralism, Xi said. When faced with the COVID-19 pandemic that has been profoundly affected the world, Xi urged to enhance cooperation in fields such as monitoring COVID-19 and scientific research.

China also proposed a hotline connection between SCO members and will prioritize the vaccine needs of member countries, Xi said. 

He also emphasized that SCO countries must firmly support relevant countries to smoothly advance major domestic political agendas in accordance with law; maintain political security and social stability, and resolutely oppose external forces interfering in the internal affairs of member states under any pretext. 

Chinese analysts said the SCO will have a new role to play in a world which is experiencing profound changes; that is, help fight the second wave of COVID-19 and boost the region’s post-pandemic recovery. 

It will also provide a multilateral platform for member states to mediate their long-standing disputes and deescalate border tensions, fight local terrorism, separatism and religious extremism while prevent foreign intervention that tries to meddle in member states’ internal affairs. 

The virtual meeting was hosted by Russia, which holds the rotating SCO presidency this year.

The Chinese president also noted that China’s development can’t advance without the world, and for its prosperity, the world also needs the participation of China. With its “dual circulation” policy, China will firmly push forward high-level opening-up policies that are mutually beneficial. 

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