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Chinese premier calls for closer SCO cooperation in security, trade, regional connectivity

(Xinhua)    09:47, December 02, 2017

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attends the 16th meeting of the Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) in Sochi, Russia, Dec. 1, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)

SOCHI, Russia, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday urged the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries to enhance cooperation in security, trade liberalization and inter-connectivity, so as to maintain stability and promote growth in the region.

Addressing the prime ministers' meeting in Russia's coastal city of Sochi, Li proposed that the SCO member countries should approve an anti-extremism treaty at an early date to better safeguard the region.

"The SCO members should speed up the process in their respective countries to have the document approved and taken effect as soon as possible," Li said.

The SCO anti-extremism treaty was signed by eight member countries in June's Astana summit in Kazakhstan, but it will come into force with approvals in the member countries, namely China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.

Security is the basic foundation for development, Li said, calling for further regional security cooperation under the common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept.

In order to prevent the backflow of terror groups, the SCO members should promote security cooperative mechanism, and deepen cooperation in the fields of information exchanges, training and security protection in large-scale events, Li said.

He also suggested the establishment of a regional center to address security challenges and threats, and to augment cooperation in drug control and fighting cross-border crimes.

The two-day SCO meeting among heads of government is the first of its kind after the organization's membership expansion in June to include India and Pakistan.

In the face of an improving world economic and global trade, Li proposed that the SCO members should further promote trade liberalization and facilitation.

China "proposes to accelerate consultations on signing a SCO agreement on trade facilitation, conduct a feasibility study of the SCO Free Trade Area in due course, and gradually establish institutional arrangements for regional economic cooperation," Li said.

The premier called on the SCO members to support cross-border e-commerce development and strengthen service trade among themselves.

Meanwhile, Li called for better and faster strategic alignments among the SCO members, saying China is willing to jointly handle challenges and promote regional stability and prosperity with other countries.

From theory and planning to practical implementations, cooperation in strategic alignments between China and other SCO members has come to a new stage, Li said.

Development is regarded as an effective way to settle regional conflicts and instability, Li said, adding that the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative is a platform for practical cooperation instead of a geopolitical tool.

Besides, Li called for joint efforts to accelerate the process of regional connectivity by promoting integration in planning and technical standard systems to raise efficiency in transportation industry.

He urged the members to advance regional infrastructure construction in such fields as transportation, energy, information and communication networks.

Li also proposed to boost cooperation in industrial production capacity, investment facilitation, and between the SCO members in the industries of clean energy, green economy, geoscience and aerospace.

Furthermore, Li encouraged the member countries to consolidate people-to-people exchanges and continuously promote communications and cooperation in education, culture, science and technology, healthcare, environmental protection, tourism and the younger generations.

Prime ministers and government representatives from the SCO member countries also participated in the conference. They spoke highly of the good momentum and great potential for development of the organization.

They said regional security and economic development are in line with the common interests of all member countries.

Under the "Shanghai Spirit" featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development, the SCO members should strengthen strategic alignments, and push forward inter-connectivity and regional trade integration, they said.

They pledged to offer supportive policies to enterprises and help them participate in regional economic cooperation.

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(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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