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Interview: SCO has become effective mechanism for active cooperation -- Kazakh president

(Xinhua)    13:20, June 01, 2018

ASTANA, June 1 -- Seventeen years into its establishment, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has been recognized by the international community and become an effective platform for cooperation in multiple fields, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Thursday.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Nazarbayev said the SCO has evolved into an institution whereby member countries cooperate actively in areas including security, economy, culture and people-to-people exchanges.

The president noted that the passage of a series of the organization's documents -- such as the Charter of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Treaty on Long-term Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, and Development Strategy of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization until 2025 -- played a decisive role in the SCO's formation as a prestigious regional cooperation mechanism.

Equally important is the creation of SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, which has made concrete contributions to safeguarding global and regional security, Nazarbayev said.

Concerning the SCO's latest enlargement, the president said the inclusion of India and Pakistan as full SCO members during the last summit in Astana in 2017 will further enhance the bloc's influence.

The most significant achievement of the SCO since its inception, Nazarbayev said, is the "Shanghai Spirit," which manifests mutual trust, equality, as well as common aspiration for development goals among member states.

The Shanghai Spirit, put forward when the SCO was established in 2001, features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity ad pursuit of common development.

Acknowledging that the potential of the SCO has not yet been fully tapped, the president suggests that cooperation be strengthened in such areas as trade and investment, transportation, and food safety.

On trade and investment, Nazarbayev called for an early launch of the SCO Development Bank as well as the SCO Development Fund with a special SCO account. The decision to set up the bank and the fund was made at the SCO summit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in June 2004.

The president expressed his optimism about regional economic and trade cooperation, as the SCO is aligning its development plan with that of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union and the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative. He said such alignments may create conditions conducive to a future free trade zone within the SCO.

Nazarbayev said he was also paying close attention to the fact that SCO member countries provide high quality and uncontaminated food for their people.

Food safety has become an ever more urgent issue as climate change has led to an increase of natural disasters as well as extreme weather conditions, he said, adding that Kazakhstan's proposal for promoting cooperation in food safety among SCO countries is practical.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xu JiaWei, Bianji)

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