“Qingdao is called the city of sails. Hence, we are counting on the SCO to embark on a new voyage in order to reach new agreements in a new era, develop new plans for the future development of our organization,” said Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Uzbekistan during the recent Tashkent presentation of the SCO summit in Qingdao.

The 18th session of the Council of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will be held on June 9-10 in Qingdao, Shandong Province, the People’s Republic of China. President Xi Jinping will host the summit and related events. Leaders of the SCO member states, observer nations and representatives of international organizations have been invited to the summit.

The Shandong Province is the birthplace of Confucius and Mencu, and is one of the cradles of Chinese civilization. Qingdao is one of the first seaside cities – avant-gardes of external openness, and today occupies a key role in the construction of One Belt, One Road. In summer, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the sea and sail in Qingdao.

Jiang Yan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Uzbekistan:

- The Qingdao Summit is on the coming. The dynamic China, the hospitable Shandong and the beautiful Qingdao are ready to meet all the guests!

The forthcoming summit will be the first one after the expansion of the SCO. That will also be another important diplomatic event held in China this year. President Xi Jinping, the leaders of the remaining seven member states and four observer countries, representatives of the UN and other international organizations and associations will jointly discuss important topics of cooperation.

President Xi Jinping will host a reception and a light show with fireworks in honor of the guests of the summit, hold talks in contracted and extended formats. Profound exchange of views is expected on the SCO’s current state and prospects for evolution and multifaceted cooperation amid new developments, key issues on the international and regional agenda, which will consolidate views and actions, promote cooperation of the SCO in new conditions for the benefit of peace and development of the entire region.

President Xi Jinning and leaders of the member states will sign and publicize the Qingdao Statement, ratify about ten documents of cooperation in the field of security, in the economic and humanitarian fields, including the Program for Implementing the Provisions of the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation for the Forth Five Years, the fight against the three forces of evil for the next three years.

The Qingdao Summit is scheduled to be attended by the Presidents of Uzbekistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Iran at the invitation of President Xi Jinping. Bilateral meetings between Xi Jinping and heads of other states are expected.

At last year’s Astana Summit, China took over the chairmanship of the organization. Over this year, the Chinese side, based on the development of the Shanghai Spirit, successfully held a number of important meetings among foreign ministers, defense ministers, secretaries of national security councils, chairmen of supreme courts, ministers of culture, as well as about 160 events, including such large-scale multilateral activities, as a cultural festival, a youth camp, a people’s forum, a forum of parties and a women’s forum. The work under the Chinese chairmanship was consistent, with clear directions, acquired a new and interesting format with rich substance and broad participation. As a result, the political mutual trust of all parties has risen to a new level, progress in cooperation in the sphere of security and practical cooperation has been achieved, new achievements in humanitarian relations have been secured, all of which laid a solid foundation for guaranteeing the success of the Qingdao Summit and served as a comprehensive preparations for it.

What can we anticipate from the summit?

The first is to once again achieve unity in consolidating solidarity. Only adherence to the original goal will it make possible to finish the business. At the summit, the Qingdao Statement is expected to be signed, in which the parties will sum up the experience of the SCO development over the past 17 years, will call for the further development of the Shanghai Spirit.

The second is to develop new security measures. The protection of regional security and stability is a common interest of the SCO countries. The fight against the three forces of evil, drug trafficking and cybercrime has become a priority of our cooperation and will be in the focus of attention of the Qingdao Summit.

The third is to afford a new impetus to joint development. After the admission of new members, the SCO has now become a universal regional organization with the largest geographical coverage and population. Its potential and international authority have grown. The Qingdao Summit will evoke a loud voice of improving global governance and strengthening the multilateral trading system, advocating the concept of innovative, coordinated, green, open and cooperative development, calling for a more favorable external environment for the development of all SCO member states.

As a result of talks at the summit, participants are expected to adopt a package of documents related to cooperation in the fields of customs, agriculture, environmental protection and tourism, including concrete plans of action, which will turn the political agreements of all parties into results of cooperation and afford a new impetus to common development.

The fourth is to outline the prospects for a common home. At present, the SCO has launched a new start, has an urgent task of securing regional stability and promoting economic development. The peoples of our region place high hopes on us, the international community draws great attention to us. Qingdao Summit will be an opportunity for all parties to harmonize the development strategies, deliver a new engine for joint development, in particular in the framework of the One Belt, One Road project in order to bolster all levels of regional economic cooperation. We hope that the Qingdao Summit will give us a comprehensive, clear and comprehensible plan for the further development of the SCO.

The SCO countries are united by common mountains and rivers; we have similar tasks in the national development. 17 years of experience allowed us to realize deeply that to adhere to good neighborliness and friendship, to jointly build a common home is an inevitable way to achieve the development and revival of our countries.

Abdujabar Abduvahitov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan:

- In its foreign policy Uzbekistan attaches priority to the activities of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Ever since its inception, the SCO has secured a worthwhile place among eminent, influential organizations and has become an effective factor of security, stability and sustainable development at the regional and global levels. The SCO platform is open for constructive dialogue among the participant states as much as for practical cooperation in diverse fields. Today, the multifaceted cooperation within the organization is reaching a new qualitative level, and the ties in politics, economy, culture, science, education and tourism have been steadily enhancing. In this context, the upcoming SCO summit meeting in Qingdao, China, to be held for the first time in the format of eight member nations after India and Pakistan joined it, is viewed in Uzbekistan as an important stage in the development of the organization and the consolidation of its standing and role in the international arena.

The agenda of the summit includes discussion of important issues relating to the activities and prospects of the organization, “revision of watches” on pressing bilateral issues, as well as signing of documents on the cooperation of participating states that will enhance the international influence of the SCO.

I would like to especially note the successful work of the People’s Republic of China during her presidency in the SCO. During this period, more than one hundred events were organized with the participation of the heads of corresponding ministries and other government agencies of the member countries covering practically the entire spectrum of cooperation areas. The Uzbek side has taken active part in all these events. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan – through bоth national coordinators and in close contact with the Embassy of the PRC and diplomatic missions of other participating countries in Tashkent – assists in promptly addressing issues related to preparations for the forthcoming summit in Qingdao. I would like to wish the Chinese side a successful organization of the session.

Vinod Kumar, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Uzbekistan:

- India pays great attention to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. And we thank all the members for the support and assistance to India in joining the SCO. For us, the summit in Qingdao is of particular importance, since Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take part in it as India’s first participation in an SCO summit as a full-fledged member of the organization. Another important point of the summit meeting is that Prime Minister Modi will meet with the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev. In Qingdao, a number of significant documents will be signed, bоth multilateral and bilateral.

Recently, SCO experts met at a session in India, and we hope to intensify such meetings. The Indian side regularly participates in events within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. India wishes the PRC all the success in the organization of the summit.

Irfan Yusuf Shami, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Pakistan:

- As a country that joined the SCO recently, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan would like to congratulate the time-tested reliable partner like the People’s Republic of China on her successful chairmanship in the organization. We wish success to the Qingdao Summit. Pakistan attaches paramount importance to membership in the organization, which covers almost half of the world’s population and 20% of the world’s GDP. We share deep cultural and historical ties, as well as strong economic bonds with the nations of this vast region. The SCO can offer Pakistan huge opportunities in trade, transport, energy, economy and other spheres.

We believe that economic ties are key for stability, sustainable development and prosperity of the region.

The SCO continues to provide us with the most powerful support in the issues of peace, confidence building and economic development. The SCO helps us combat poverty, epidemics and climate change. One Belt, One Road, the Chinese timely initiative quickly transforms the entire global economic landscape. The Sino-Pakistani economic corridor is one of the projects within the One Belt, One Road scheme and the connection of Pakistan to economic integration. Pakistan as a country that knows firsthand what the fight against terrorism and extremism is, and fully supports the goals and objectives of the SCO RATS. We fully support the SCO’s efforts on the peaceful settlement of the Afghan conflict.

 Vladimir Tyurdenev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Uzbekistan:

- The SCO is a good example of a powerful and influential political and economic international organization operating on the principles of equality, mutual respect and consideration of the interests of each member. With the accession of India and Pakistan, the organization has become an even more significant player in the Eurasian space. The priority for the SCO has always been and remains to ensure security and stability on the external borders of the participating states. A surge of extremism and terrorism around the world makes this task especially urgent. Coping with it is possible only with honest and strict observance of international law. The fight against terrorists must be complex and uncompromising.

Undoubtedly, the state of affairs in Afghanistan is of key importance for ensuring regional stability. Russia, like all the partners in the SCO, consistently stands for a political settlement of the Afghan conflict.

Among the important strategic tasks enhancing the potential of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is economic cooperation. A study has been launched to look into issues of trade simplification, improvement of customs procedures, and reduction of administrative barriers. An effective mechanism is the SCO Business Council and the SCO Interbank Association.

Given the increasing uncertainty in world politics and economy, the SCO could play an important stabilizing role.