Experts laud importance of Xi's speech

By XU WEIWEI in Hong Kong (Chinadaily.com.cn) 08:26, July 05, 2023

Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the 23rd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) via video conference from Beijing, capital of China, July 4, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

President Xi Jinping's speech at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization virtual summit on Tuesday highlighted the issues of common security, cooperation and economic growth, which are currently of vital importance to the world, experts said.

Member countries expressed high hopes and optimism for a brighter future during the 23rd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO, hosted by India via video link, they added.

Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, CEO of the Asian Institute of Eco-civilization Research and Development, in Islamabad, Pakistan, said President Xi had pinpointed major issues and the clear way forward.

He said the whole speech reflects the aspirations of people, and made important points that needed to be highlighted. "President Xi said there is a need to enhance solidarity and trust, and ensure peace in the region," Ramay said, adding that this depicts the realities on the ground in the SCO region. This is one of Xi's most important suggestions, he said, which must be a guiding principle for building trust and strengthening the organization.

The SCO is perhaps the most important and inclusive organization of Eurasian countries and is immune to Cold War baggage, said Karori Singh, former director and emeritus fellow of the South Asia Studies Centre at India's University of Rajasthan.

Singh said Xi emphasized mutual trust as the key to enhance cooperation and gave an assurance of working with other nations for global security. Xi urged SCO member states to be vigilant against outside interference in the region and suggested working toward the uplifting of people in Afghanistan, he added.

Singh noted that Xi said there is a need to prevent artificial barriers being established and to ensure productive cooperation, under which development experiences can be shared to deepen progress and ensure peace.

Atul Dalakoti, executive director of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said he was impressed that Xi talked about safeguarding regional peace, and strengthening exchanges to create win-win cooperation between member states leading to pragmatic and more meaningful economic cooperation. This will result in more sustainable and balanced economic recoveries for SCO countries.

The Shanghai Spirit champions mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development. Xi's remarks are "in line with the Shanghai Spirit to enhance solidarity and mutual trust to achieve a better tomorrow", Dalakoti said.

Lawrence Loh, director of the National University of Singapore's Centre for Governance and Sustainability, said Xi's speech reinforced the importance of the SCO in spearheading global peace and prosperity. "Coming on the heels of deepening geopolitical tensions, the speech emphasized the need for mutual trust and interaction among countries to safeguard a peaceful world for all," he said.

In the sensitive Asian region, good diplomacy must be based on respect and reciprocity, and countries should not engage in or instigate actions that affect the sovereignty of others, he said.

In the face of the macroeconomic challenges faced by many developing Asian countries, efforts must be made to foster strong economic recovery, Loh said. "Regional collaborations such as the Belt and Road Initiative will put countries on the path of good economic progress that will benefit their people," he said.

Ramay, from the institute in Islamabad, said that on the economic front Xi had stressed the importance of cooperation and China's willingness to share the fruits of its success, citing Xi's emphasis on synergizing BRI objectives with national aspirations and the development agendas of member states.

Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist at Griffith University in Australia, said Xi's address highlights several important aspects of global health security within the SCO context. "The emphasis on enhancing solidarity and mutual trust among SCO members is crucial for effective collaboration in addressing health security challenges," he said.

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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