SCO 2018: Xi Jinping stresses on unity & harmony at welcome dinner
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday, June 9, stressed the Shanghai Spirit at the welcome banquet of the 18th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the coastal city of Qingdao in East China's Shandong province. Speaking at the welcome dinner, he called for "unity and harmony" among the member states, something that teachings of Chinese philosopher Confucius had stressed. Shandong is the home town of Confucius and Confucianism.
The Shanghai Spirit is the foundation of the SCO and refers to a set of values like mutual trust and benefit, equality, pursuit of common development, etc.
"The Shanghai Spirit's focus on seeking common ground while setting aside differences and pursuing mutually beneficial cooperation has won widespread international endorsement and support," Jinping said (read his full statement here) (http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-06/09/c_137242747.htm). China is hosting the SCO summit for the fourth time since 2001, when the grouping was formed. Only Russia has held that many summits in the last 17 years.
The 18th summit, however, is significant because it is the first summit after the expansion of the SCO in June last year. India and Pakistan have joined the summit as full-time members this year, taking the total membership to eight and there are also six dialogue partners and four observer states - making the total number of sides present in the summit to 18.
While China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are the members of the SCO apart from India and Pakistan; its dialogue partners include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey. The four observer states include Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia. Chinese and Russian are the two official language of SCO.
Earlier in the day, Jinping met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, who have represented their respective countries in Qingdao.
That Jinping was banking on the expanded SCO for its future success was revealed when he said: "Today, with eight member states, four observer states and six dialogue partners, the SCO has become an important force for upholding regional security, promoting common development and improving global governance".
Jinping also said that the first summit of the SCO post expansion will be held on Sunday, June 10, and a blueprint will be drawn up on its future growth.