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Step up cooperation for common development
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15:59, October 31, 2008

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The 7th prime ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), held on Thursday, October 30th in the capital of Astana in Kazakhstan, is a very timely meeting with a clear-cut aim as it was convened against a backdrop of the global financial tsunami triggered by the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis.

This meeting is of great significance to spur SCO cooperation in all fields, strengthen and deepen friendly cooperation among SCO member and observer states for their common development, and it will definitely produce a far-reaching impact on the present and future development of SCO.

SCO has continued to maintain a good momentum for development since its 6th summit of SCO prime ministers held in August last year, and a process on trade and investment facilitation has since made much headway. The China-Kirghizstan-Uzbekistan highway, Tajikistan-Uzbekistan highway and other related projects are in steady progress, and a new batch of exemplary cooperative items with the participation of varied partners and for shared benefits are expected to be implemented shortly.

Meanwhile, SCO members have started cooperation and achieved the fruitful outcome in such spheres as agriculture, science, technology, education, culture, environmental protection and natural disaster rescue efforts. Moreover, diplomatic exchanges among SCO member nations have also been active and lively.

The current SCO prime ministers' meeting continued to carry out in an all-round way a treaty on long-term good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation among SCO member states inked in 2007 and the common understanding reached at the SCO Dushanbe summit in a bid to increase or deepen pragmatic cooperation among SCO members, to study how to respond to the present global economic situation, and to cope with challenges for the mutually-beneficial, win-win outcome.

Global economic imbalance has hastened with a slowdown in the growth of the world economy since last year as a result of the U.S. sub-prime crisis erupted in August 2007 and, with the eruption of global financial crisis, there are greater risks on the financial market; the prices of energy, resources and food soared worldwide with more difficulties added to the export sector and more pressures imposed upon inflation, and the economies of SCO members have been affected to varying extent. So, a nation alone can hardly guard against or resist the global financial crisis.

Under such circumstances, SCO members should integrate resources, coordinate their stances and work hand-in-hand within the bloc, which poses a vital, important means to ensure and promote common regional development and prosperity. Consensuses reached and measures taken at the present SCO prime ministers' meeting raised the capacity of SCO members to look out and resist the global financial crisis and to further enrich or substantiate both the theory and mode of regional cooperation.

Since its founding in 2001, SCO has increasingly raised its cohesive power and sustained its global and regional influence, and its prospects for substantial cooperation are sure to get better. SCO member nations occupy 60 percent of the Eurasian land mass with a combined population of approximately 1.5 billion. It has abundant supply of labor as well as a huge market potential; its member states have complementary economic structures with sustainable, dependable and adaptable characteristics.

At the same time, with regard to economic cooperation within SCO, there are forum and meeting mechanisms behind each project with cooperation evident among involved industries, government departments and some academic circles, and they are playing an indispensable role in the swap of information or coordination of their positions.

This provides a basic prerequisite for the enlargement of regional cooperation and extension of its contents, and it also poses a typical hallmark of pragmatic cooperation. Furthermore, SCO members have viably tackled a range of key issues after years of cooperation, and it is now imbued with a keen political desire to further beef up their cooperation. This has precisely laid down a solid basis for going on to deepen and penetrate their cooperation in years ahead.

By People's Daily Online, and contributed by PD reporter Lu Guoxue

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