"Unity or split, peace or conflict, cooperation or confrontation?" Chinese President Xi Jinping inquired under the attentive gaze of world leaders at Tuesday's 23rd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
"These are the questions raised again by our times," Xi continued. "My answer is this: the people's wish for a happy life is our goal, and peace, development and win-win cooperation are the unstoppable trends of the times."
China's commitments in Xi's speech are palpable for residents living on the outskirts of Lahore, Pakistan.
Just one day earlier, they held celebrations for the 1,000-day safe operation of the ±660kV Matiari-Lahore high-voltage direct current transmission project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which brought an end to the era of insufficient power supply that had plagued the local area for long.
For experts and scholars who have heeded China's efforts to promote world peace and development, the power transmission project is a testament to China's commitment to improving living standards of all people by cooperating with other countries.
And through Xi's recent address at the SCO summit, they have seen fresh boosts to a closer and stronger SCO community and drawn more confidence in building a better world featuring peace and stability, win-win cooperation, and a more just and equitable international order.
CHAMPION OF PEACE & STABILITY
"Sustaining peace and security in this region is our common responsibility," Xi said in his speech, adding that China stands ready to work with all sides "to implement the Global Security Initiative, promote the settlement of international disputes through dialogue and consultation, and encourage political settlement of international and regional hotspots, to forge a solid security shield in our region."
The Global Security Initiative is a China-proposed initiative to advance multilateralism and peacebuilding to strengthen global security.
Inspired by Xi's address, Jalal Bazwan, a lecturer at the Kabul-based Kardan University, said: "Xi's speech highlights China's proactive role in global security and its commitment to regional stability."
Referring to the Afghan issue as an example, Bazwan said that China has been playing a constructive role in addressing regional issues and "supporting long-term stability through political negotiations."
China has been the forerunner of the SCO, leading the way in ensuring global security and prosperity while building a community with a shared future for mankind, said Gulru Gezer, a former Turkish diplomat and foreign policy analyst.
"This is very important because the region and itself and the world is going through a turbulent period, and having an open dialogue based on mutual respect and mutual trust, I think, is critical nowadays," Gezer told Xinhua.
At the summit, Xi noted that SCO members "have acted out the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, accommodated each other's legitimate security concerns, and responded to both traditional and nontraditional security challenges."
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Echoing Xi's words, Khalid Taimur Akram, executive director of the Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future in Islamabad, said the SCO offers a platform for member countries to explore avenues for addressing regional conflicts, promoting stability and mitigating risks in a volatile world.
By promoting comprehensive and practical cooperation, China is contributing to maintaining peace and stability within the region and strengthening security collaboration among SCO member states, Akram added.
ADVOCATE OF WIN-WIN COOPERATION
In his address, Xi emphasized the importance of member states enhancing strategic communication and coordination, resolving differences through dialogue, promoting cooperation instead of competition, showing genuine respect for each other's core interests and major concerns, and providing firm support for each other's efforts towards development and rejuvenation.
Xi's proposals forging closer SCO partnerships "align with the interests and aspirations of people from various countries," demonstrate China's responsible role as a major country, and contributes to regional and global peace and development, said Benyamin Poghosyan, chairman of the Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies in Armenia.
"We should make the pie of win-win cooperation bigger and ensure that more development gains will be shared more fairly by people across the world," Xi said, welcoming member states' participation in the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to broaden the Belt and Road as a "path of happiness" benefiting the whole world.
Thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Tulanbay Kurbanov, an Uzbek expert on international relations, said that the infrastructure, trade and economic ties among Asian, European and African countries are becoming further interconnected.
As the BRI heads into a new decade, Xi's call for further coordination between the BRI and the development strategies of relevant countries will become a unifying force among regional countries and a cause for further global development, Kurbanov added.
"China is promoting economic growth, facilitating trade, and enhancing people-to-people exchanges by encouraging regional development ... These efforts align with the spirit of the SCO, which seeks to enhance cooperation among member states for the region's benefit," Akram said.
The Pakistani expert said that through economic collaboration under the BRI, China connected its prosperity with regional growth, aligning with the SCO's objective of promoting economic integration and shared prosperity.
Selcuk Colakoglu, director of the Ankara-based Turkish Center for Asia-Pacific Studies, told Xinhua that in Xi's speech, "There is a focus on win-win cooperation and also increasing interactions for peaceful developments in international space."
"President Xi's remarks illustrate China's unwavering policy to expand mutually-beneficial cooperation, promote multilateralism for the benefit of all, and oppose hegemony and power politics," said Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute of Cambodia.
TOGETHER FOR A BETTER WORLD
The world today is undergoing both transformation and upheaval; changes unseen in a century are unfolding at a faster pace; and human society faces unprecedented challenges, Xi said in his remarks,
In response to the challenges, Xi called on SCO member states to make global governance more just and equitable and advance the modernization of humanity through collective efforts to promote equal rights, equal opportunities and fair rules for all. He called on member states to jointly promote world peace, drive global development and safeguard the international order.
From the viewpoint of Mohammad Reza Manafi, editor-in-chief for the Asia-Pacific news desk of Iran's official news agency IRNA, the SCO is an excellent example of common growth and development.
The Chinese government, he said, profoundly believes that today's world is not a place for unilateralism. When working together, nations and countries can achieve more growth and development.
"China has proved that it is trying its best to use its huge abilities to bring common development to the whole nations simply because it believes it can achieve more development if other nations could develop together," Manafi added, noting China's approach as "real multilateralism."
Xi's remarks reflect "China's firm commitment and efforts to build an even closer SCO community with a shared future that will inject stronger impetus into regional and global peace, security and development," said Kin Phea.
He believed that China's global initiatives, such as the BRI, the Global Development Initiative, and the Global Security Initiative, are crucial to address regional and global challenges.
"It was particularly important that he (Xi) also underscored China's willingness to work with all parties to safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core and maintain the international order based on international law and promote the establishment of a fair and more reasonable global governance system," Gezer told Xinhua.
Humankind does not need hatred, division or conflict, and people worldwide want to live a good life, said Sheradil Baktygulov, a foreign affairs consultant at the Kyrgyz National Institute for Strategic Studies. "The thoughts of President Xi show the way for building a close SCO community and a bright future for the Eurasian continent."