On 18 October 2019, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Vladimir Norov had a meeting with Chairman (Governor) of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR) of China, Mr Chen Wu, within the framework of the 7th China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum themed Connect Cooperation by Land and Sea, Empower Development with Innovation.
The forum was held in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on 17-18 October 2019.
The meeting was attended by Vice-Chairman of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Yang Jinbai, Secretary-General of the People's Government of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Huang Zhou and his deputy Yang Bin, Nanning Mayor Zhou Hongbo and Mr Shi Donglong, Director-General of the Foreign Affairs Office of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Mr Chen Wu thanked the SCO Secretary-General for taking an active part in the 7th China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum. He expressed appreciation of the current relations between China and Central Asian states, including within the SCO. Citing the convenient location of Nanning, he suggested that the city could become a platform for stimulating cooperation between the SCO and ASEAN nations.
The Governor mentioned in this context the speedy construction of the new international land/sea trade corridor connecting the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region with ASEAN nations.
Mr Chen Wu also said he saw potential in the participation of SCO representatives in the annual China-ASEAN EXPO (CAEXPO), a venue where the participating countries demonstrate their achievements in such fields as mechanical and electrical engineering, the light industry and farming equipment.
He proposed developing medical cooperation between SCO countries within the framework of the International Medical Open Experimental Zone in Fangchenggang and considering holding a forum on traditional medicine in 2020.
SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov congratulated the Guangxi Zhuang Governor on the success of the 7th China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum. He noted that such forums offered unique opportunities for discussing current topics in the field of politics, security and the economy, as well as cultural and humanitarian cooperation between Central Asian states, China and SCO and ASEAN nations.
"We know that in 2014 Nanning was chosen as the site for a pilot project in servicing cross-border electronic commerce. This has boosted the development of online commerce, logistics, storage technology and the digitalisation of customs procedures in the region. Last year, China's cross-border e-commerce
reached $1.3 trillion, largely thanks to Nanning's contribution," Vladimir Norov pointed out.
He added that the medical industry was growing rapidly in the autonomous region and cited the example of the International Medical Open Experimental Zone, which was to be established in Fangchenggang.
Vladimir Norov praised the region's achievements in these sectors, including the effective cooperation with ASEAN nations, and proposed the development of close ties between this Chinese region and SCO countries' regions in the field of trade, investment, industry, e-commerce and medicine via forums, roundtable discussions and meetings between economic and business representatives of the SCO and ASEAN nations.
The SCO Secretary-General focused on the transit of ASEAN cargo headed for Europe and the Middle East via the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Central Asian states, including the planned railway line across Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China, which will greatly increase the economic, transportation and logistics potential of the autonomous region.
The annual China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum was first held in 2012. Since then, it has become a vital platform for strengthening political trust and promoting trade, economic and humanitarian ties between China and Central Asian states. The forum is traditionally accompanied by an exhibition of the member states' unique commodities and technical achievements.