Thu, 21 Jan 2021

BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Experts have spoken highly of the concerted efforts of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in fighting COVID-19.

This followed a virtual session of the 19th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of Member States of the SCO at which leaders pledged further efforts on vaccine and medicine cooperation and post-pandemic economic recovery.

Attending the session via video link in Beijing Monday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said as COVID-19 is still ravaging the world, it is "imperative that we expedite cooperation on the research and development of vaccines and drugs."

He also promised that COVID-19 vaccines, when developed and deployed in China, will be made a global public good. "This will be China's contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability."

The SCO was established in Shanghai in 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan joined as full members in 2017.

Deng Hao, secretary general of the China Center for Shanghai Cooperation Organization Studies, said the COVID-19 pandemic has posed multiple challenges to the SCO members, but it also served as an "adhesive" to bind the member states together as all focused on the same task.

The longing for anti-pandemic cooperation has become the biggest converging interest and a generator for cooperation among the SCO members, Deng said.

Sun Zhuangzhi, director of the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, commended SCO actions such as helping each other with anti-pandemic materials and said a good foundation for cooperation has been laid in the joint fight against the pandemic.

Li Ziguo, director of the Department for European-Central Asian Studies of the China Institute of International Studies, said as China has achieved good results in containing the epidemic, it is capable of providing not only medical supplies but also solutions for epidemic response.

He also called for more efforts to promote traditional Chinese medicine and help other SCO members with the development of telemedicine.

Deng said China's contribution to advancing anti-virus cooperation among SCO members will play an important exemplary role and boost confidence in the global battle against COVID-19 and the global economic recovery.

At Monday's meeting, the Chinese premier stressed the need to build a regional network of "fast tracks" and "green lanes" to facilitate the flow of people and goods, and contribute to economic reopening in the SCO countries.

Promoting integrated and interconnected development in keeping with the general trend of the world economy is a sure path to economic recovery, he said.

Sun said collaboration among the SCO members must focus on business recovery in the next step as SCO economies have taken a big hit due to the pandemic.

Noting that the SCO members enjoy relatively strong trade complementarities, Sun said the SCO cooperation in areas such as transportation, investment, new energy and digital economy will have a bright prospect.

He added that efforts should be made to deepen pragmatic cooperation and fully implement multilateral economic cooperation projects to benefit all countries and strengthen people's sense of fulfillment.

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