Central Asian cooperation urged for the good of the whole region

Updated: 2013-07-15 07:14

By Zhou Wa (China Daily)

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 Central Asian cooperation urged for the good of the whole region

Secretary-General of the SCO Dmitry Mezentsev, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Kairat Sarybai, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Tajikistan Foreign Minister Khamrokhon Zarifi and Uzbekistan Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov attend the SCO summit in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, on Saturday. Provided by Agence France-Presse

Foreign minister wants SCO to be 'community of common interests'

Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for making the regional Shanghai Cooperation Organization a "community of common interests", the ministry said on Sunday.

The comment shows the importance China attaches to working with its neighbors, especially those in Central Asia. The cooperation between China and those countries should benefit the whole region, observers said.

Wang was speaking at a meeting among SCO members on Saturday in Kyrgyzstan, ahead of the minister's visits to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

The three Central Asian countries are on Wang's second foreign trip as foreign minister, following a four-country visit to Southeast Asia in May.

Wang met with Kyrgyzstan Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev on Sunday, and pledged to deepen cooperation with that country.

Bilateral trade, transportation and mining cooperation have been fruitful in recent years, and Kyrgyzstan has appreciated help from China over the years, Satybaldiyev said. Kyrgyzstan opposes separatist movements in any form, and firmly supports China's actions to defend its national unity and stability, he added.

He said that as China realizes the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, Kyrgyzstan would like to take the key opportunity to expand bilateral cooperation in areas such as thermal power, road construction, aluminum and tourism, in a bid to achieve its own socioeconomic progress.

Problems to overcome

Having a community of common interests means that bilateral cooperation will not harm the interests of a third party within the organization while boosting the development of all SCO members, said Zhang Jianrong, a researcher with Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

It is a trend these years that the SCO focuses not just on border and security issues but others that are related to the development of each member state, including political trust and economic cooperation, he said.

But to reach the goal of setting up a community of common interests, all member states need to overcome the problem of different levels of development, said Sun Zhuangzhi, a Central Asian studies scholar with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

All SCO members are now facing the issue to deepen their practical cooperation after building frameworks that require them to take not just their own interests into consideration while cooperating with others, Sun said.

Wang said the new Chinese government is committed to maintaining good relations with its neighbors, adding that Beijing will stick to the principle of combining the interests of both the Chinese people and those of SCO members.

Over the past year, the SCO stepped up its fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as drug-trafficking and transnational organized crime.

A number of big projects involving trade, transportation, telecommunications and finance have begun, and progress in promoting cooperation in education, technology and disaster relief has also been made.

These achievements effectively maintained regional security, and provided help for member states to develop their economies and improve people's livelihoods, the foreign minister added.

He urged all SCO members to beef up security cooperation and build up security shields so that they can rely on each other to guarantee their mutual security and development, adding that the countries should deepen their regional economic cooperation to alleviate the impact on the members from the depressed global economy.

Xinhua contributed to the story.


(China Daily USA 07/15/2013 page5)