Zamir Ahmed Awan – People’s Daily
The 20th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held a video meeting on November 10. The conference was chaired by President Putin as current Chair of SCO for the year 2019-20. All the member states took an active part, and President Putin, President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Imran Khan, and other dignitaries delivered speeches.
The meeting came at a critical moment when geopolitics is facing turmoil and rapidly changing scenarios. The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the whole world, and without exception, all nations are going through difficulties of varying intensity.
The global economy is going through one of its worst crises.
Against this background, SCO leaders deliberated on the strengthening and further development of cooperation within the SCO framework, including the global political and socio-economic concerns brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, rapidly changing geopolitical situations, and the global economy.
President Xi Jinping emphasized, “The COVID-19 Pandemic has accelerated shifts in the international landscape. The world is entering a period of turbulence and transformation. The international community now faces a major test with choices to be made between multilateralism and unilateralism, openness and seclusion, cooperation and confrontation”.
In fact, the challenges posed by COVID-19 were never predicted, never seen in history, and are unique in nature. There is a need to defeat COVID-19. Collectively, no single country, however advanced or developed, can suppress it. The US and EU were considered the most developed and advanced countries but became its worst victims. If they cannot face this severe challenge, then what of developing and underdeveloped nations?
President Xi is a visionary leader, and China has emerged as a global power. China understands its international obligations and is willing to contribute its due share. It is very well understood that with the rapid development of science and technology, the modern world has been changed into a global village, where the interests and destinies of all nations are interlinked. Collective efforts are greatly needed. All countries need to jointly struggle for peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit. His message for all SCO member states is to carry forward the Shanghai Spirit and deepen solidarity and collaboration. United, we will contribute more to the stability and development of countries in the region and strive to build a community with a shared future for mankind. President Xi said, “We should step up anti-epidemic cooperation and build a community of health for us all.
Right now, COVID-19 is still presenting a threat. We should strengthen our combined response to COVID-19, support each other’s containment efforts, and uphold regional and global public health security. Vaccines play a vital role in defeating the virus. China has joined the COVAX facility and will enthusiastically consider SCO nations’ need for vaccines to help protect the public’s safety and health in our countries”.
He also urged the member states to safeguard security and stability. Conducive environments are the number one precondition for a country’s socio-economic development and prosperity. There is a dire need to achieve a shared vision, comprehensive cooperation based on a win-win model, sustainable security, and to address all forms of threats and challenges effectively and create an enabling environment for the whole region.
Pakistan is an essential SCO member and possesses vast potential to contribute a great deal due to its geostrategic location.
Pakistan is a pivot for the whole region. It plays the role of a bridge connecting China, Russia, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Eurasia with the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. Pakistan is committed to achieving SCO goals and objectives in its true spirit and promoting peace, harmony, and cooperation with all nations in the SCO and globally.
Zamir Ahmed Awan is a senior fellow with the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan.