SCO meeting to discuss closer economic ties

Updated: 2011-11-07 08:30

By Qin Jize and Zheng Yangpeng (China Daily)

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - Premier Wen Jiabao will meet his counterparts from fellow member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Monday to discuss greater economic integration to jointly resist the global financial crisis.

As Wen arrived in Russia's former imperial capital on Sunday afternoon for the 10th meeting of prime ministers of the SCO member states, analysts said the gathering would lay a solid foundation for future cooperation.

"The member countries have realized that boosting economic cooperation and development is crucial for the stability and security of the whole region," said Ji Zhiye, vice-president of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

"China has made a substantive contribution to regional economic cooperation by developing trade, providing funds and implementing large infrastructure construction projects," Ji said, noting that China is currently the rotating chair of the SCO.

The SCO, which groups China, Russia and the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, was formed in 2001 and has grown into a regional bloc aimed at promoting cooperation in various fields.

So far, more than 30 economic deals have been signed within the SCO framework in the fields of energy, transportation, telecommunications and financial cooperation.

Vice-Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told reporters earlier that the prime ministers of the six member countries will on Monday adopt a joint declaration on the economic situation in the world and in the SCO, and will sign several documents.

Though Cheng did not say what specific proposals Wen would make during the meeting, Li Xin, director of the Center for World Economy Studies with Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said cooperation in energy and infrastructure construction are likely to be mentioned.

Promoting a strategic outline for the SCO up to 2020 and setting up an economic cooperation committee have been suggested by Chinese scholars and diplomats, said Li.

He added that financial cooperation, including the establishment of an SCO development bank and renminbi trade settlement, is also on the agenda of the Chinese side.

Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov was quoted as saying that he will make a proposal to create a commission at the level of economy ministries.

Leaders and representatives from SCO observer countries and Russia's guests, including India, Pakistan, Iran, Mongolia and Afghanistan, will also take part in the annual meeting.

During his two-day stay in St. Petersburg, Wen is also scheduled to hold a series of bilateral meetings, including one with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

On Sunday afternoon, Wen paid his respects to legendary Russian poet Alexander Pushkin at the Lyceum Museum.

The museum, which is devoted to the memory of the founder of modern Russian literature, was a school where Pushkin studied.