A gala evening dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was held at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on 15 June 2021. The event was made possible by the SCO Secretariat, the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC).
The reception was attended by Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng, CPAFFC Chairman Lin Songtian, PRC Government's Special Representative for Eurasia Li Hui, senior leaders and officials from the SCO Secretariat, ambassadors from the SCO Family countries, permanent representatives of the member states at the SCO Secretariat, officials from China's ministries, departments and companies, renowned political scientists, figures of culture and art and international media members. The heads of missions that represent UN, EU and Arab League agencies in China attended the event as well.
Member of the State Council of China and Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent a video address to the participants at the SCO Day event noting that, guided by the Shanghai Spirit, the SCO endures international turbulence, constantly deepens multifaceted cooperation, confidently follows the path of cooperation and development based on regional realities and its participants' needs, and implements the concepts for forming breakthrough international relations and a community of common destiny for humankind.
Wang Yi said that the past 20 years have been a period of solidarity and interaction in the name of a common future. Following the spirit and the letter of the SCO Charter, as well as the Treaty on Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation, and regardless of ideology-driven differences, social systems and development paths, we will always be there to provide mutual support in matters of key interest and each other's concerns, to closely cooperate in the face of external intervention, threats and challenges, and to demonstrate through actions the deep meaning of the community of common destiny.
"By resolutely upholding multilateralism, we contribute to the political settlement of hot spots, we use the single SCO voice to promote the formation of a new type of international relations and a community of common destiny for humankind," Wang Yi said.
In his greeting address, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov said that the past two decades have shown the loyalty and foresight of the strategic choice made on 15 June 2001 by the heads of the founding states. During that period, the SCO has passed the test of time and has confidently established itself as a leading and effective platform for comprehensive discussion and development of joint decisions on matters of security, sustainable economic development and promotion of inter-civilisational dialogue in the region.
The SCO Secretary-General highlighted that it is hard to find a more weighty demonstration of vitality and correctness of the principles underlying the organisation, which have become firmly embedded in the global political lexicon, than the Shanghai Spirit. Achieving complete equality and mutual respect, a democratic and flexible nature of the state-to-state cooperation within the SCO, and the presence of a rich unifying agenda strengthen its appeal for a large number of countries representing different areas of civilisation.
Vladimir Norov drew the participants' attention to the fact that the SCO family unites 18 states that occupy about 60 percent of the Eurasian continent, almost half of the world's population and a quarter of the global GDP. In addition, 16 applications have been submitted for establishing ties of varying levels with the SCO or raising the status of existing relations.
"In a number of areas, the SCO and the SCO member states are leading international efforts to form and implement responsible rules of behaviour that meet mutual interests in critical areas. The SCO has passed the coronavirus test, with the member states showing high levels of solidarity, mutual support and cohesion. There is reason to anticipate breakthroughs in innovation-driven areas, such as green energy, the digital economy, and others.
"Entering its third decade, the SCO will continue to serve as an optimal platform for the successful synergy of national and regional interests, as well as multifaceted cooperation with an emphasis on guaranteeing political stability, stronger security, broader economic and cultural interaction, and common prosperity of the nations," Norov said.
In closing, the SCO Secretary-General underscored that the SCO is not an exclusive or elite club, but an open international association that does not have negative imprints of previous eras and that fully meets the realities and needs of the 21st century. We are willing to promote dialogue, contacts and cooperation across all mutually beneficial areas with our partners. We have things to offer and to learn from each other.
Vice Foreign Minister of China Le Yucheng also addressed the participants with a message of greetings. He noted that the SCO had opened a whole new model of cooperation in the spirit of peaceful coexistence and joint prosperity of countries with different social systems and levels of development.
The diplomat assured listeners that China was ready, in conjunction with other SCO member states, to implement the agreements reached by the heads of state, and to take action in order to make the dreams of the peoples of the SCO member states come true.
"Against the backdrop of complex changes in the international and regional situation, the SCO, as it enters its third decade, is carrying out an important historical mission," Le Yucheng said in closing.
A photo exhibition covering the stages of SCO development and the achievements of the member states was displayed as part of the celebration. A theme-based postal envelope and a stamp dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the SCO were presented on the sidelines of the event.