On 24 March 2021, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov met at the SCO Secretariat with a Chinese delegation of the Shibei District, Qingdao, led by Zhang Xinzhu, Secretary of the Communist Party Committee of the Port of Qingdao Board of Management and Services.
They talked about the development of cooperation in tourism. Vladimir Norov spoke highly of the Qingdao authorities' contribution to the implementation of the Eight Wonders of the SCO project, which has become a showcase of the organisation's cultural cooperation.
Zhang Xinzhu updated the SCO Secretary-General on the development of cooperation between the Shibei District, in particular the Port of Qingdao, and the SCO Family countries in the fields of trade, cultural and humanitarian ties, as well as tourism and youth exchanges.
He pointed out that thanks to the establishment of the Qingdao Zone of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Demonstration Zone for China-SCO regional trade and economic cooperation the city can become a comprehensive platform for promoting the SCO countries' cooperation with ASEAN nations plus Japan and South Korea.
The SCO Secretary-General proposed considering the idea of holding fairs and exhibitions of the SCO nations' cuisines and arts, as well as culture and arts festivals in Shibei.
Secretary Zhang Xinzhu said that the Shibei authorities were willing to actively contribute to the organisation and holding of events planned for the 20th anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
The sides agreed to maintain contact on the areas of cooperation they discussed at the meeting.
The SCO Secretariat launched the Eight Wonders of the SCO project, which consists of a series of presentations on the SCO member states' tourist attractions attended by representatives of the SCO countries' diplomatic and trade missions, tourism authorities, travel companies and tour operators, as well as other related agencies. Each member state chose one landmark or complex, which they consider interesting for the other SCO countries and the rest of the world, and designated it as a wonder.
India chose the Statue of Unity, Kazakhstan the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly, China the Daming Imperial Palace complex, Kyrgyzstan Lake Issyk-Kul, Pakistan the Great Mughals' heritage at Lahore, Russia the Golden Ring cities, Tajikistan the Palace of Nowruz, and Uzbekistan the Poi Kalon Islamic religious complex in the historical part of Bukhara.
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During the SCO summit held in Qingdao in June 2018, China proposed creating a Demonstration Zone for China-SCO regional trade and economic cooperation. Its development as a new international transport and logistics hub is gaining momentum despite the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Qingdao Multimodal Transport Centre at the China-SCO Demonstration Zone has opened 17 freight railway routes, including six international routes to Central Asia, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Russia, ASEAN countries and Belarus.