Beijing to host SCO foreign ministers’ meet ahead of Qingdao summit



China will host a meeting of the council of foreign ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries in Beijing on April 24, ahead of the organization’s annual summit in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao this June, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday.

“At the invitation of [China’s] State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj of India, Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov of Kazakhstan, Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldayev of Kyrgyzstan, Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif of Pakistan, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia, Foreign Minister Sirodjidin Aslov of Tajikistan, Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov of Uzbekistan, Secretary-General of the SCO Rashid Alimov and Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure Yevgeniy Sysoyev will attend the meeting,” China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told the media at her regular press conference.

All parties will exchange views on SCO cooperation in various areas and major international and regional issues, Hua said, adding that the foreign ministers of Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan will have an extended stay during which they will hold talks with senior Chinese officials.

The Beijing meeting of the SCO foreign ministers’ council will be the first after the enlargement of the organization last year. The meeting is aimed at laying the groundwork for the Qingdao summit.

China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying addresses a press conference in Beijing, China, on April 18, 2018.

“During the meeting, the Chinese leadership will have a group meeting with the heads of delegations. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will chair the meeting. Foreign ministe

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rs of the member states will exchange views on the SCO cooperation across the board and major international and regional issues, ink a series of outcome documents and issue the press communiqué on the basis of the consensus reached at the meeting,” Hua said.

“China believes that all parties will take this meeting as an opportunity to build up more consensus on cooperation, roll out more measures for cooperation, ensure that the Qingdao Summit can achieve fruitful outcomes and promote the greater development of the SCO.”

In also providing details of the Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to Beijing from April 23 to 24, Hua said that it fell within the mechanism of annual reciprocal visits between Chinese and Russian foreign ministers and the arrangement of multilateral meetings.

“President Xi Jinping's Special Envoy, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi just paid a successful visit to Russia in early April. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is about to pay an official visit to China. The two sides achieved reciprocal visits within a month, which speaks volumes for the uniqueness of China-Russia relations that are developing at a high level,” she said.

Lavrov is scheduled to hold talks with Wang and also meet the Chinese leadership during his visit. “The two sides will compare notes on the arrangement of the recent exchange of high-level visits and exchange views on the international and regional issues of common interest. We believe that this visit will further consolidate the sound momentum of the high-level development of China-Russia relations and enhance our strategic coordination in international affairs,” Hua said.

From left: Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi joining hands ahead of the 15th Russia-India-China (RIC) meeting of foreign ministers in New Delhi, India, on December 11, 2017.

The foreign ministry spokesperson also elaborated on the Indian Foreign Minister’s “working visit to China,” saying Swaraj will hold talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang, “during which the two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on China-India relations and international and regional issues of common interest.”

“As two major developing countries and emerging markets, China and India are each other's important neighbors. The leaders of the two countries have set the goal of forging an even closer developmental partnership, which has guided bilateral cooperation in various areas to make great progress,” said Hua.

“Since the beginning of this year, China-India relations have witnessed a positive momentum of development. China stands ready to work with India to maintain the exchange of high-level visits, expand pragmatic cooperation, properly manage differences and move forward bilateral relations,” she said.

Swaraj's visit to China “will further enhance political mutual trust and promote the sustained and steady development of China-India relations,” she added.