Putin praises presence of India, Pak in SCO; China looks forward to Russian president’s visit
Days ahead of the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit at Qingdao in China on June 9-10, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview that the platform had started as a low-profile group but has now emerged as one of the world's most powerful organisations.
Sixty-five-year-old Putin, who was speaking with Shen Haixiong, president of the China Media Group, a broadcasting platform including China Global Television Network (CGTN), in an exclusive interview, said the SCO started with a primary purpose of resolving border disputes between Russia, China and the Central Asian republics but as time passed, they found more similarities among them and it evolved as a bigger body.
This is the first time the SCO summit will take place with India and Pakistan as full-fledged members. The organisation has now eight members overall.
Saying the coming of India and Pakistan into the group has now made it more global and since a number of large countries with massive populations now form a part of the SCO, Putin stressed on the huge resources that the organisation now has, the CGTN added.
The SCO members account for one-fourth of the world's GDP, 43 per cent of the global population and 23 per cent of the global territory, Putin said with an emphasis on the rapid economic growth of countries like China, India and Russia.
The SCO comprises four of the world's 10 largest countries - Russia, China, India and Kazakhstan, it also includes four of the world's top 10 populous states - China, India, Pakistan and Russia.
Putin also praised North Korea during his interview, saying the efforts made by Pyongyang towards peace were "unprecedented", CGTN added.
He spoke on the relations that Russia has with the West, led by the US, and the various sanctions that the latter have imposed.
He said he wanted a positive relationship but was not scared by the sanctions and limitations. The Russian president said those sanctions were not only hurting Russia but those who followed the US's decision and actions.
The Chinese side was excited by Putin's visit as it felt it would facilitate the bilateral relations between Beijing and Moscow, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday, June 3, according to CGTN.
Yi met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the Formal Meeting of the BRICS foreign ministers in Johannesburg, South Africa, recently.
Putin will reach China on June 8 to attend the SCO summit and it will be his first after becoming the president for the fourth term earlier this year. It will also be the first time that Putin will meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in 2018.
Russia has grown wary of China's grand designs and the two countries' relations have also not been smooth historically. Both sides hope that these meetings will put things in the right perspective.