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SCO member states should resolve disputes, differences through dialogue: Xi

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Pak PM opposes 'illegal and unilateral' actions of any country

Beijing/Islamabad:  Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said that members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) should deepen mutual trust and resolve disputes and differences through dialogue and consultations, while firmly dealing with terrorist, separatist and extremist forces.

Addressing the Council of Heads of State of the SCO grouping via video link, Xi said that history has proved and will continue to prove that good, neighbourly friendship will go beyond a beggar-thy-neighbour approach, mutually beneficial cooperation will take over the zero-sum game and multilateralism will prevail over unilateralism.

“We need to deepen solidarity and mutual trust and resolve disputes and differences through dialogue and consultations,” Xi said in remarks in the backdrop of the over six-month-long border standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders of the eight-member SCO grouping attended the virtual summit hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We need to act on the vision of common, comprehensive and sustainable security, address all forms of threats and challenges effectively and foster a sound security atmosphere in our region,” he said.

Countries of the SCO should “resolutely oppose external forces’ interfering in their internal affairs under any pretext,” Xi said.

SCO members should “firmly support countries concerned in law-based efforts to steadily advance major domestic political agenda. Firmly support countries in safeguarding political security and social stability and firmly oppose interference by external forces in the domestic affairs of SCO members under whatever pretext,” he said.

In order to cement the political foundation for SCO development it is important to foil “terrorist, separatist and extremists attempt to exploit the pandemic for disruption, curb the proliferation of drugs, crackdown on internet-based propagation of extremist ideology and deepen SCO members law enforcement cooperation,” he said.

“It is import we support biosecurity, data security and outer space security and engage in active communication and dialogue in this field”, he said.

The SCO founding members are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan were admitted into the grouping in 2017.

The SCO summit over video link is being organised by Russia, which will also host a virtual summit of BRICS, (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) leaders on November 17.

India is also set to host the virtual meeting of the SCO Heads of the Government on November 30 in which Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is expected to take part.

On the fight against COVID-19, Xi said SCO countries should set up a hotline among their centres for disease control, and China is ready to consider in a proactive approach to the needs of countries for COVID-19 vaccines.

It is necessary to strengthen joint forces among countries in prevention and controls, support each other’s fight against the epidemic, and further promote exchanges and cooperation in such areas as epidemic surveillance, scientific research, disease prevention and treatment, Xi said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday opposed “illegal and unilateral” actions by any country to change the status of disputed regions in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

Addressing the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) meeting through video link, Khan called for the implementation of the UN resolutions to resolve outstanding issues and create an environment for peace and stability.

“Unilateral and illegal measures to change the status of disputed territories in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions runs counter to the objective (of the UN) and adversely affects the regional environment,” he said without naming any country.

“Such measures must be condemned and opposed resolutely for being in violation of the SCO charter and its well-established principle of inter-state relations,” he said in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other top leaders of the eight-member grouping.

Earlier, Prime Minister Modi during his address had hit out at those making repeated attempts to “unnecessarily” bring bilateral issues to the SCO in violation of the bloc’s foundational principles, in an oblique reference to Pakistan raising the Kashmir issue in its past meetings.

Khan said that freedom of speech should not be allowed to insult other religions and their followers.

“Deliberately insulting religion and religious beliefs provokes hatred, leading to further polarisation and fragmentation of humanity,” he said.

It was wrong to use terrorism-related issues as political tools against a community, race or party, Khan said.

He called for global coordinated efforts to combat the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and to fight with its emerging second wave, saying Pakistan in coordination with China was working to develop a vaccine.

He said that Pakistan supported China’s efforts to contain the pandemic by providing protective equipment to the deserving countries, including Pakistan.

The Prime Minister also voiced support for the initiative of G-20 to provide debt relief to poor economies in the days of COVID-19.

Talking about Afghanistan, he said that there was no military solution to the Afghan problem.

Reduction in violence is essential in maintaining peace in Afghanistan and to ensure the return of Afghan Refugees with dignity, he said.

India is also set to host the virtual meeting of the SCO Heads of the Government on November 30 in which Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is expected to take part.

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