From September 11 to 19, 2014, President Xi Jinping upon invitation attended the 14th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Dushanbe, and paid state visits to Tajikistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and India. At the end of the tour, Foreign Minister Wang Yi briefed the journalists on the tour.
Wang Yi said that in this golden autumn, China's neighborhood diplomacy ushers in another good harvest. President Xi Jinping's attendance at the SCO Summit in Dushanbe and his first visits to the above four countries open a new chapter of China's good-neighborly and friendly cooperation and start a new voyage of building "One Belt One Road".
Wang Yi said that Central Asia and South Asia, located in the Eurasian heartland, are the safety barrier for China's development and stability, and are also at the development direction of China's opening up to the west. The four countries visited are all important countries along the ancient terrestrial or maritime Silk Road, share time-honored relations with China in the history as well as deeply integrated interests in current reality, and are important pivotal points for jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The four countries include such large countries with a population of more than 1.2 billion as India and such small island countries with a population of only 330,000 as Maldives. They believe in different religions including Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, some with towering mountains and some surrounded by seas. With different national conditions and cultures, the four countries yet all share the common dream of peace and development and all hope to quicken their pace by taking the train of China. President Xi Jinping's visits are based on both domestic and international situations, with an eye on the lasting peace and common prosperity in the region, and connected the good dreams of peoples from different countries together with the great conception of "One Belt One Road", working with all sides to discuss the development planning, promote peace and tranquility, and realize the dream of revitalization.
During the 9-day tour, President Xi Jinping attended more than 70 activities altogether, conducted long talks and close interaction with leaders of different countries, contacted extensively and communicated sincerely with people from all walks of life, elaborated his policy principle and put forward proposals and measures, and promoted a batch of strategic and demonstrative large-scale projects. The governments and peoples of the countries visited welcomed President Xi Jinping with the most honorable and solemn etiquette. Hospitality, amity, grandness and delight can be felt everywhere. President Emomali Rakhmon of Tajikistan together with the three generations of his family greeted and welcomed President Xi Jinping to his home; President Abdulla Yameen of Maldives and President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka paid special trips to the airport to welcome President Xi Jinping and bid farewells; and Prime Minster Narendra Modi of India personally made arrangement and accompanied President Xi Jinping in the whole course of visit to his hometown. The countries visited have set off waves of "China Fever" one after another. Prime Minister Modi told Xi Jinping that after hearing the news about his upcoming visit to Gujarat, all the primary and secondary school students in Gujarat began to practice saying Xi Jinping's name in Chinese. The international media featured as well as constantly and heatedly discussed the historical significance of Xi Jinping's visits, holding that they have important and profound influence on guiding the development of the SCO and enhancing China's relations with the countries visited as well as the South Asian region.
First, push forward the development of the SCO and drive in motion the two "wheels" of security and economy simultaneously. The SCO is an important mechanism for regional countries to maintain security and promote common development, and also an important platform for China to develop relations with the Central Asian countries, which is at a crucial stage of development and growth. Currently, the international and regional situation have become increasingly complicated and volatile; the spillover effect of the Afghan issue is prominent; the threats of religious extremism and terrorism are rising; China and the regional countries face common threats and challenges, and all hope to strengthen solidarity and cooperation. The central mission of this Summit is to promote the healthy development of the SCO under the new situation. President Xi Jinping expounded China's proposition on the SCO's development and stressed that the member states should firmly establish the consciousness of the community of common destiny and interests, work together to step up the fight against the "three evil forces" so as to maintain regional stability and sovereign security, and vigorously promote the connectivity, transport facilitation, integration of trade and investment as well as the construction of financing and guarantee mechanism. The proposition and proposals put forward by President Xi Jinping combine the international trend with the regional situation and conform to the development needs of the member states, not only takes a long-term perspective but also is feasible, received active response from all parties, and was fully absorbed and represented in the meetings' outcome documents. The member states unanimously agreed to continue the cooperation to crack down on the "three evil forces" while laying emphasis on cracking down on religious extremism and cyber terrorism, actively participate in the joint construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt, discuss to establish an SCO development fund and an SCO development bank as soon as possible, and strengthen policy coordination on such hotspot issues in surrounding countries as the Afghan issue.
The legal documents on the SCO membership enlargement were approved at the meeting, which opened the door of membership enlargement. Pakistan, India and other countries successively submitted the application to join the SCO. This fully manifests an open and inclusive SCO with more attractiveness and more vitality as well as its increasing influence and voice on the international stage.
During the Summit, President Xi Jinping met with President Vladimir Putin of Russia for the fourth time this year. The two heads of state decided to support each other, promote cooperation in finance and large-scale projects, accelerate the construction of the China-Russia West Route natural gas pipeline, and strengthen the strategic coordination on major international issues. The heads of state of China, Russia and Mongolia held a meeting for the first time, charted the course for mutually beneficial cooperation among the three neighboring countries, especially in promoting connectivity and cross-border transportation so as to build the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor, and perfected China's peripheral cooperation layout. President Xi Jinping also met with Presidents of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan respectively, and reached new and important consensus with them on strengthening practical cooperation in various fields.
Second, strengthen strategic guidance and promote the relations between China and the countries visited to a higher level. China and India are two great ancient civilizations as well as the two largest developing countries and emerging market economies, enjoying time-honored friendly exchanges. Both countries are in the historical process of national rejuvenation and serve as two important powers in the world's multi-polarization process. The Chinese and Indian leaders stressed the strategic significance and global impact of China-India relations from a historical and comprehensive perspective, and decided to well inherit and carry forward the bond of the bilateral friendship and make cooperation the constant theme of China-India relations. Xi Jinping pointed out that the harmonious coexistence as well as peaceful, cooperative and inclusive development of the Chinese Dragon and the Indian Elephant benefits the two countries, their neighbors and the world at large. Prime Minister Modi said that India and China should carry forward the spirit of "From an Inch to a Mile" to constantly push forward the bilateral relations. President Xi Jinping stressed that "Rome was not built in one day", and that the two countries should make practical efforts to constantly push forward the China-India relationship. The two sides decided to build a closer partnership of development so as to enrich the connotation of the strategic partnership between the two countries, and agreed to deepen cooperation at the bilateral, regional and global levels, so as to maintain the common interests of both countries and other developing countries, as well as to promote the international order of politics and economy towards a more just and reasonable direction. The two sides reiterated that both sides would continue to resolve the border issue through friendly consultations, and make concerted efforts to well safeguard peace and tranquility along the border pending a final resolution. President Xi Jinping's visit enhances mutual trust, reduces suspicion, builds consensus, and pushes forward the China-India relationship to a new historical stage. President Pranab Mukherjee of India said that it is essential for India to develop mutually beneficial cooperation with China in order to benefit from the development of Asia. India is ready to work with China to achieve common development and prosperity.
President Xi Jinping made top-level design and strategic planning on the bilateral relations with the leaders of Tajikistan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, reaffirmed the strong support for the political system and development path that the three countries have chosen as well as mutual support on each other's core interests and major concerns, and stressed that China is willing to share its development experience and enjoy the development dividend along with the three countries. China and Tajikistan issued the joint declaration on further developing and deepening strategic partnership and made development planning for the next five years; China and Maldives established for the first time the comprehensive friendly and cooperative partnership oriented towards the future; and China and Sri Lanka signed the action plan on deepening strategic cooperative partnership, all of which have consolidated the basis and indicated the direction for China's developing relations with the three countries. President Yameen of Maldives said that China is a big country while Maldives is a small island country, China values and respects Maldives, and the Maldives-China relationship can be described as a model of mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation between big and small countries. President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka delivered a televised national speech, in which he repeatedly thanked China for offering precious support and assistance. President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan praised that the development of China brings hope for peace and opportunities of development to the region and the world. The three heads of state all expressed their willingness to be sincere friends and close partners with China and march forward hand-in-hand with everlasting friendship.
President Xi Jinping delivered a policy speech in India to the South Asian region, expounded China's policy towards India and the South Asian region as well as major initiatives to strengthen cooperation with the South Asian countries in the new period, and stressed that China is willing to get along with the South Asian countries and hopes to realize takeoff together with the South Asian countries with the wings of "One BeltOne Road".
Third, promote the construction of "One Belt One Road" and build a community of common interests and common destiny between China and the four countries. Since put forward by President Xi Jinping last year, the proposal of "One Belt One Road" has attained increasing sympathy and support from neighboring countries and the international community. Over the past year, the "One Belt One Road" has undergone the designing of concept, the establishment of overall framework, and the completion of strategic planning, and has begun to step into the stage of practical cooperation. We will work with the countries along the "Silk Road Economic Belt" and the "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" to focus on constructing the three economic corridors of China-Central Asia-West Asia, New Eurasian Land Bridge, and China-Mongolia-Russia, develop new routes of the Maritime Silk Road, and put emphasis on strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation in such fields as infrastructure connectivity, energy, finance and people's livelihood.
President Xi Jinping's visit is a wonderful "road show" of the construction of "One Belt One Road". President Xi Jinping pointed out that we should make an in-depth link between the "One Belt One Road" and development strategies of relevant countries, and closely integrate China's advantageous industries with the location characteristics and development demands of the four countries. China and Tajikistan launched the D line construction of the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline, working together to solve three major development bottlenecks of energy supply, transportation and food security; China and Maldives strengthened cooperation in marine affairs, infrastructure construction, tourism, and people's livelihood, and joined hands to cope with the challenges of climate change; China and Sri Lanka initiated the bilateral free-trade negotiations with focus on pushing forward port construction and operation as well as port-adjacent industrial park development and construction; China and India actively conducted researches on promoting the construction of Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor, and made full play of China's advantages to upgrade Indian railways and build industrial parks. All of these are major projects important to national economy and people's livelihood, were welcomed by local governments and supported by the people, and also drove China's domestic enterprises and technical equipment to speed up "going global". During the visit, China signed over 60 cooperation agreements with the four countries. All the four countries expressed their willingness to actively participate in the construction of "One Belt One Road". President Yameen of Maldives said that the construction of "One Belt One Road" will bring closer the Asian countries .
Getting people connected is important content of "One Belt One Road". President Xi Jinping stressed that friendship along the Silk Road should be inherited and the spirit of the Silk Road should be carried forward so as to consolidate the public opinion basis and the social foundation of relations between China and the four countries. President Xi Jinping reached a high degree of consensus with the leaders of the four countries on strengthening people-to-people and cultural exchanges. During the visit, Mme. Peng Liyuan visited schools, cared for the public good and bridged cultures, demonstrating China's charm in a unique way and promoting friendliness.
Wang Yi finally said that neighborhood is the foundation of China's national security, development and prosperity. China's development cannot realize without peace, stability and cooperation of the surrounding environment. China's development momentum has also brought important opportunities of cooperation to neighboring countries. China's neighborhood diplomacy is entering a new round of active period. For more than a year, President Xi Jinping has visited 13 countries across Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and South Asia, and we also hosted the Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) participated mainly by neighboring countries.
Wherever President Xi Jinping went, he actively publicized the "two centennial goal" of China, expounded the faith of China in adhering to the peaceful development path and introduced with great passion the bright future of China's development as well as great opportunities of growth for China. With sincere affection, plain words, strong conviction and concrete actions, President Xi Jinping practiced in person the neighborhood diplomacy concept of intimacy, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, and advocated the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security of Asia. He combined the Chinese Dream with the aspiration of the people of the neighboring countries to live a good life, and enhanced mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation, reflecting his vision, wisdom and responsibilities as the leader of a major country. We should earnestly learn and carry out President Xi Jinping's neighborhood diplomacy concept, well implement various achievements of President Xi Jinping's visit, and grasp the favorable opportunity at present to make this year's APEC Informal Leaders' Meeting to be held in Beijing this November a great success, so as to actively promote regional integration and push the Chinese nation as well as other countries to take off with the miraculous wings of "One Belt One Road" .