On 23 September, the Beijing International Club hosted an SCO Media and Think Tank Forum dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. The forum was organised by the Publicity (Propaganda) Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the China Foreign Languages Publication and Distribution Administration (officially known as China International Publishing Group or CIPG), the Renmin Huabao publishing corporation, the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies, and the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The forum was attended by representatives of the SCO member states' diplomatic missions in China, Chinese government agencies, the SCO Secretariat and the media, as well as academics.
President of CIPG Du Zhanyuan delivered the opening remarks. "Over the 20 years of its existence, the SCO has proved to be an extremely resilient organisation. Its media and think tanks should create a new platform for promoting dialogue among the SCO member states in the interests of people and life," Du Zhanyuan pointed out. He believes that the SCO's current priority is to devise effective practical methods to settle the Afghan issue as part of ensuring stability in the region.
Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui emphasised the importance of making the best possible use of the forum's potential for boosting the SCO's development and building up cooperation between its member states.
SCO Deputy Secretary-General Zhang Haizhou read out a message of greetings from SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov. It mentioned the summit meeting held the week before in Dushanbe amid the 20th anniversary celebrations, during which over 40 documents were signed, the largest number ever in the history of the SCO. Vladimir Norov also said that the SCO family would increase following the approval of the application for full membership submitted by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Qatar have been granted the status of dialogue partner.
He also stressed that the SCO Development Strategy until 2025 highlighted the importance of information support to the Organisation's activities aimed at promoting the SCO's positive image among the member states' citizens, and the SCO's adequate image throughout the world and in the region. This should serve as a catalyst for the convergence of the member states and their peoples and the strengthening of good neighbourliness and mutual trust between them.
This year alone, the organisation has held the 16th SCO Forum chaired by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and a number of conferences organised by Chinese research institutes. The SCO has received and added to its agenda applications from Mongolia and Iran for holding online conferences of the SCO think tanks.
Overall, over 25 experts addressed the forum, and the participants held a substantive discussion and exchanged views and practical ideas on the strengthening and expansion of SCO's cooperation with media outlets and think tanks.