Spotlight: SCO member countries reap tangible benefits from China's Belt and Road Initiative, play bigger role

Source: Xinhua 2018-05-09

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BEIJING, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Taking over the rotating presidency, China will hold this year's Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the coastal city of Qingdao, Shandong Province in June.

As a founding member of the SCO, China has consistently promoted practical cooperation and proposed initiatives conducive to all parties, such as the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, which has generated numerous tangible benefits to SCO member states.

China-proposed initiatives "bear profound strategic character," SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov told Xinhua in a recent interview, stressing the importance of aligning the Initiative with the development strategies of each SCO member.


Over the past four years, a batch of major joint projects have been completed in SCO member states under the framework of B&R, including highways, railways, tunnels and electric power plants, which improve the cross-border logistics conditions and promotes the development capacity of the SCO countries.

In October 2017, in Kashgar of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a fleet of 50 trucks of a joint trade convoy carrying large containers started to roll along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The containers carried by the fleet were shipped to the United Arab Emirates and other countries, marking the Gwadar port's first export of containers to foreign destinations, and showing that the port has achieved the designated handling capacity.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that CPEC is destined to transform the entire country and open up a world of possibilities not just for Pakistan but also for other Central Asian states.

China and other member countries of the SCO have achieved positive outcomes in implementing the B&R Initiative, including closer trade ties, stronger mutual investment and increasing joint projects, according to Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan during last year's SCO Summit held in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan.

Mutual investment has been growing steadily, with China's non-financial direct investment in other SCO member countries as of April 2017 amounting to 74.2 billion U.S. dollars and investment in the 'reverse direction' totaling 1.09 billion U.S. dollars, according to Zhong.

China has also built a total of 21 economic and trade cooperation zones within the territory of the SCO countries, making contributions to expanding local employment and increasing tax incomes.

In Cambodia, the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone has attracted hundreds of enterprises, providing a model of China-Cambodia cooperation under the B&R Initiative.

In Myanmar, a consortium of six foreign companies led by China's CITIC has won two bids to build an industrial park and a deep-sea port in the Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone in Rakhine State, which will improve the country's infrastructure, local employment and livelihood.


After the admission of India and Pakistan in 2017, the SCO has become a comprehensive regional organization with the largest geographic and demographic coverage, with 44 percent of the world's population. "It will surely play a more positive role in the regional and international affairs," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on April 24.

On the same day, SCO foreign ministers agreed at a meeting that they will "enhance solidarity and mutual trust, deepen cooperation across the board, and build a new type of international relations featuring mutual trust, equity, justice and win-win cooperation and a community with a shared future for all mankind," according to Hua.

China is willing to deepen pragmatic cooperation with other SCO member countries in defense and security to promote long-term regional stability and prosperity, Xi said at a group meeting with defense ministers from Russia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the Kyrgyz Republic chief of the general staff of armed forces on April 23.

Xi stressed that security is the cornerstone for development. "We must take safeguarding regional security and stability as the SCO's work priority as always."

On behalf of SCO defense ministers, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said they admired China's achievements in development and national defense building.

The minister noted that they believed the SCO will play an important role in safeguarding the strategic interests and stability of various countries, which will in turn lead to regional and eventually, world peace.