China’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) National Coordinator Ambassador Zhang Haizhou has said that Qatar can play a significant role in the development of SCO member states and towards meeting the organisation’s ultimate goals as a full member, stressing that China and Qatar enjoy strong strategic political and economic bilateral relations.
Qatar is currently a Dialogue Partner state in the group along with seven member states, four Observer states and 10 Dialogue Partners, including Qatar.
Ambassador Haizhou was talking exclusively to Qatar Tribune on the sideline of a media briefing to a group of visiting international media members from more than 20 countries, the first-ever press conference organised post-COVID-19 pandemic at the International Media Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in Beijing.
He said SCO’s membership expansion plan would support the economic development of the member states, eradicate terrorism through security cooperation, promote peace and security, and address other jointly severe challenges like of environment and food security, among others.
He said that once Qatar submits its membership application, it will be considered positively, adding that Iran and Saudi Arabia will also be joining the group as new members soon, whereas Belarus’s application is already being processed.
Haizhou was briefing media representatives on SCO 2030 goals, China’s contributions through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project and achievements in the BRI campaign since its inception around 10 years ago, as well as China’s role towards meeting SCO objectives.
He said that the SCO member countries are like a family upholding the Shanghai Spirit of ‘Mutual trust, Mutual benefit, Equality, Consultation, Respect for Cultural Diversity and Pursuit of Common Development’.
He added that the SCO platform provides an opportunity for economic integration, extensively deepens the exchange of people to enhance bilateral friendship, and builds a solid people-to-people foundation of mutual understanding, and cooperation in security to overcome severe challenges.
The Chinese national coordinator for SCO said the organisation’s members, Observer states and Dialogue Partner states form a total area of more than 34 million square kilometres, which accounts for three-fifths of the Eurasia continent.
He pointed out that the population of SCO member states in total exceed three billion, accounting for 41.15 per cent of the world population, adding that in 2022, the GDP of SCO Member states reached about $23.74 trillion, accounting for 23.37 per cent of the world economic aggregate, making SCO group a comprehensive and regional cooperative organisation with the largest area in the world.
Talking about China’s role in SCO through its BRI project, Haizhou said though BRI was an initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping, it is now owned by the entire world.
He stressed the implementation of recommendations made by President Xi on various occasions in the recent past, including economic integration between the member states, security cooperation for the eradication of terrorism and control of the spreading of drugs, and strengthening civilisations diversifications by respecting each member’s territorial integrity.
He added that China’s Xinjiang policy has received staunch support from SCO member states. When the Xinjiang issue was being hyped, the then General Secretary Norov Vladimir Imamovich and other envoys from the SCO countries to China paid a visit to Kashgar and Urumchi in Xinjiang to witness the socioeconomic growth of Xinjiang.