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Chinese President Proposes Convention for Neighborly Relations
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Chinese President Hu Jintao proposed in Shanghai Thursday the formation of a convention featuring lasting good neighborhood relations and cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

He made the proposal at the SCO heads of state meeting in the Chinese economic hub, where the regional cooperation body was founded on June 15, 2001.

The SCO groups China, Russia and four central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It also has Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran and India as observers. The summit also saw participants from some international organizations.

"We should respect and support the interests and concerns of all SCO member countries, enhance coordination and cooperation in international and regional issues, and timely consult on measures to cope with major international and regional issues," Hu said to other SCO heads of state.

He called for better cooperation between law-enforcement and security departments, especially information exchanges so that the SCO members can raise their capability of joint anti-terrorism activities.

He proposed the formation of the convention to consolidate the foundation of political trust, unity and coordination among SCO member states, and ensure the lasting vigor of the organization.

On economic cooperation within the organization, Hu said the urgent job at present is to fulfill the documents and consensus reached among the member countries.

"We should improve the legal framework for regional economic cooperation, step up discussions on the signing of cooperation agreements in the fields of customs and transportation, and study the feasibility of forging a multilateral investment protection agreement," Hu said.

"We should carry out at an early date a number of economic and technological cooperation projects that will benefit all the parties involved, especially in the fields of energy, electricity, transportation and telecommunication," said the Chinese president.

He also called for efforts to display the role of the SCO banks consortium and promote its cooperation with other international financial institutions, so that it could give multi-channel financial support for regional economic cooperation.

On human and cultural exchanges, he asked for the serious implementation of an education cooperation agreement inked at the summit and strengthen cooperation on joint programs cultivating talented people.

The Chinese president appealed for the adherence to the principle of opening-up and cooperation for the purpose of world peace.

"We hope the international community could respect the social system and road of development independently chosen by SCO member countries and observer countries, respect their internal and external policies of peace, friendship and cooperation based on their own domestic situation and create a harmonious and easy environment for their development," he said.

Hu recalled the founding of the SCO, saying the "historic decision" to establish such an organization has forged a broad arena for the further development of good-neighborly, trusty and beneficial cooperation between the six member countries.

He attributed the significant growth of the SCO to the member countries' advantages and the adherence to the principles of peace and development, sufficient democracy and opening-up.

"The successful experience of the SCO can be condensed to one point, that is to unswervingly advocate and practice the Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust and benefit, equality, respect for cultural diversity and a desire for common development," he said.

Peace, development and cooperation have become a trend of the current world, but various traditional and untraditional threats to security still interweave. Like the other parts of the world, the SCO region maintains basically stable but is faced with "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and the problems of drugs and cross-border crimes. In particular, the region is economically less developed.

"We should enhance all-round cooperation and strive to turn the region into a harmonious area with lasting peace and common prosperity," Hu said.

On the SCO's external relations, Hu said to include Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran and India in the SCO as observers is conducive to playing the organization's role in promoting peace and development.

China will join hands with other member countries to push forward the SCO's substantial cooperation with observers, with Afghanistan, and with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Echoing Hu's remarks, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said at Thursday's summit that the SCO has become an important element in current international relations over the past five years.

Safeguarding regional security and stability, the SCO has witnessed an increasing status and a stronger anti-terrorism capability, Nazarbayev said.

As the SCO member states boast abundant natural resources and huge potential in human resources, it is of great importance to step up economic cooperation within the SCO framework, said the Kazakh president.
Nazarbayev also urged the SCO member states to respect diverse cultures in the region and understand each other.

Chinese President Hu Jintao stressed that China will follow the road of peaceful development, stick to an opening-up strategy of mutual benefit and win-win, and abide by the foreign principle of to building friendship and partnership with neighbors and the foreign policy of fostering an amicable, peaceful and prosperous neighborhood.

China's peaceful development will bring about great opportunities for neighboring countries, especially SCO members, and China will constantly increase input and push forward the development of the SCO, Hu noted.

(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2006)

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