On June 8, 2011, prior to the Astana Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the third Lanting Forum with the theme on the 10th anniversary of the SCO was held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nearly 270 participants, including Assistant Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping, foreign diplomats in China, business personnel, renowned experts and scholars and media representatives attended the event. The Forum is co-hosted by China Foundation for International Studies (CFIS) and the Public Diplomacy Office of the Information Department and chaired by CFIS President Zhang Deguang.
In his keynote speech entitled Immense Prospects for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Cheng comprehensively reviewed the major achievements and experience of development of the SCO and elaborated the position of the Chinese side on the SCO's development within the next ten years. He pointed out that the Astana Summit to be held soon has critical historic significance in the history of the SCO. Over the past ten years, from being established to growing mature and from system building to efficient running, the SCO has achieved remarkable results in the fields of politics, security, economy, culture, institutional construction and external exchanges and grown into an indispensable constructive force in Eurasia and a regional cooperation organization which its members can trust and rely on.
He indicated that the SCO takes the "Shanghai spirit" of mutual trust, mutual benefit, consultation, respecting diversified civilizations and seeking common development as the basic principle of cooperation among its members. The development road and cooperative approach chosen by the SCO serve the common interest of all its members and comply with the trends of peace, development and cooperation in the world. The development experience of the SCO makes us deeply realize that we must take good-neighborly friendship as the foundation, solidarity and mutual help as the guarantee, mutual benefit as the core and peace and development as the banner. This choice, this road, this spirit and this mode must be adhered to.
He stressed that the SCO, standing at a new historical starting point, should carry forward the sound tradition and valuable experience developed over the past 10 years, clearly define its development direction in the next decade and ensure countries in the region get maximum benefit from its growth. He raised four proposals on the SCO's development in the next decade: unswervingly strengthen political mutual trust and constantly increase the capacity of handling challenges; unswervingly deepen security cooperation and effectively increase the capacity of coping with real threats; unswervingly push forward pragmatic cooperation and comprehensively increase the capacity of sustainable development; unswervingly expand cultural exchanges and further consolidate the capacity of passing friendship from one generation to another.
He noted that China, as a founding member of the SCO, always attaches great importance to and actively participates in the development of the organization and has made tangible contributions to the common development of the SCO members. China's policy on the SCO is a strategic choice made in light of the shared interests of all the members and will not change because of any single event at any particular time. China will take over the rotating presidency of the SCO after the end of the Astana Summit in June this year. Within the one year afterwards, China will keep close communications with all the other members and vigorously promote the pragmatic cooperation in order to make a sound beginning for the next decade of the SCO.
He also answered questions of the participating guests and journalists on China's position and role in the SCO, its work plan after taking over the SCO's rotating presidency, how to step up the economic cooperation among the SCO members, how to make "Shanghai spirit" continue to play a role in the theories and practices of international relations and the Afghan issue.
Director of the Institute of Eurasia Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Wu Enyuan, Vice President of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations Ji Zhiye, Associate Dean of School of International Studies, Peking University Guan Guihai and Director of the SCO Studies Department, China Institute of International Studies Chen Yurong made remarks respectively on the SCO's security, economic cooperation and institutional construction and answered questions of the audience.