The Sixth Summit Meeting of the "Shanghai Five," scheduled for June 14-15 in Shanghai, will be a new milestone in the history of "Shanghai Cooperation" and exert important yet far-reaching influence on regional and international affairs, according to a senior official with China's Foreign Ministry.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Liu Guchang, China's coordinator of "Shanghai Five" and the assistant foreign minister, expressed his optimism about the prospects for the long-term cooperation among China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, which make up the Shanghai Five. Representatives from the different countries originally met in Shanghai in 1996 and delegates from Uzbekistan will attend the summit this year.
Speaking on the importance of the summit, Liu said under the current international and regional situation, state heads of the six nations will make a strategically blueprint of the long-term cooperation and surely elevate the "Shanghai Five" mechanism into a higher stage, thus making it play a more active role in promoting world and regional peace and development.
This summit will make a series of significant decisions concerning the construction of the "Shanghai Five" mechanism, Liu said, adding the "Shanghai Five" will be transformed into a regional organization of multilateral cooperation, with more nations joining in.
Liu went on to say that the "Shanghai Five" nations will take vital steps to enhance cooperation on regional security, including collaboration to combat separatism, terrorism and extremism.
Heads of these nations will promote bilateral cooperation into more comprehensive fields and reach a consensus on how to safeguard world and regional peace as well as on how to realize common development, he stressed.
On the impact of the "Shanghai Five," Liu said this new type of state-to-state relations is an important diplomatic practice in the history of international relations, demonstrates the outstanding wisdom, courage and creativity of the leaders of these nations and makes a precious contribution to building a brand new model for international relations.
The mechanism upholds a new viewpoint on security which focuses on mutual trust, disarmament and cooperation, and sets an excellent example for countries, big or small, to carry out regional cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, he said.
The success of the "Shanghai Five" is not only a shared treasure among these nations, but also provides realistic insight for establishing a democratic, fair, rational yet new international political and economic order, he said.
When asked about the summit's subjects, Liu said the state heads will discuss the construction and development of the " Shanghai Five" mechanism, exchange views on current major international and regional issues and sign a series of documents of historic significance, thus elevating their neighborly and friendly cooperation into a new level.
Liu said the economic cooperation, in particular, is a major task facing the "Shanghai Five" nations, stressing that the leaders will put vital impetus on initiating economic and trade cooperation within the mechanism.
In retrospect, Liu briefed Xinhua on the major achievements and breakthroughs of the "Shanghai Five" from three perspectives, namely, the signing of two agreements on the build-up of confidence in the military field, the mutual reduction of military forces in border areas between these nations in 1996 and 1997, and the establishment of an annual leadership summit among these nations in 1998 and the mechanism construction in the 2000 summit.
He stated that the 2000 summit put forward a series of objectives, namely, the elevation of the mechanism into a regional cooperation organization, setting up regular meeting for prime ministers of these nations and establishing a joint anti-terrorism center aimed to counter terrorism, separatism and extremism.
"All these have laid a profound foundation for this year's summit," he said.
Preparations for the forthcoming summit is in good operation, Liu said, adding he believed that the summit is sure to yield successful results and it will be a milestone in the history of neighborly relations that reviews the past and ushers in the future.