CGTN Exclusive: SCO secretary-general says more countries interested in joining the group

Генеральный секретарь ШОС Чжан Мин

CGTN

The 2022 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit will be held in Uzbekistan this week. CGTN's Wang Mengjie sat down with SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming in Beijing to talk about the upcoming event and issues of concern.

What topics will be mainly discussed?

"This year's summit will issue the Samarkand Declaration, which will be a comprehensive political declaration on the SCO's position on international politics, economy and a range of other aspects," said Zhang.

In 2007, the SCO issued a very important document, namely the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, which has an implementation plan every five years, and this year, the summit will discuss the formulation of the plan for 2023 to 2027, Zhang told CGTN.

"The participants will also discuss climate change, and the security of supply chains, energy and food," Zhang continued when asked to comment on what topics will be mainly discussed at this year's SCO summit.

The expansion plans

On the organization's expansion plans, Zhang said the memorandum of understanding on Iran's accession to the SCO will be discussed at this summit; Belarus has also formally submitted an application for full membership.

"There is a saying here that there is a long queue outside the door of the SCO, and I think this metaphor is not exaggerated," said the secretary-general.

Why is this happening? Zhang said he thinks given the profound global changes that we are witnessing; members of the international community are expecting a new type of international relations based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, which are the essence of the SCO Charter and "Shanghai Spirit."

The contributions that China has made

When asked his take on the contributions that China has made to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Zhang told CGTN that over the past 21 years, China has made important contributions to the SCO's values and has also proposed a series of constructive cooperation initiatives, such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

In terms of poverty reduction, China has eliminated absolute poverty, at least 10 years ahead of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goal, an accomplishment that's been hailed by the international community, said Zhang, adding that Uzbekistan, which holds the SCO rotating presidency, has established a working mechanism for poverty reduction, a goal that has also become part of the SCO working process.

In terms of COVID-19, Zhang said China has provided vaccines and anti-epidemic materials to SCO members.

"As an important country in the SCO region and the founding member of the organization, China plays an important role in the development of the SCO, and I believe it will make more important contributions in the future," stressed Zhang.

BRI projects

The secretary-general also briefed on how the BRI and its interface work under the framework of the SCO. He said that the highlight of the Belt and Road Initiative is inter-connectivity, which means cooperation and multilateralism.

"It ties in closely with the purpose of the SCO and the member states have implemented the initiative since it was first introduced, leading to growth in trade, smooth freight and logistics, more transport capacity, and a boost in cultural exchanges and tourism development," Zhang told CGTN.

"So all members have the reason to be proud when it comes to the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative," added Zhang.