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Shanghai Cooperation Organization Prime Ministers’ Summit Begins in Sochi

Nov. 30, 2017 (EIRNS)—The Nov. 30-Dec. 1 Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) Prime Ministers’ meeting started today in Sochi, Russia. The meeting is significant because it is the first such meeting of the expanded SCO with new members India and Pakistan, and also because of the growing impact of China’s "One Belt, One Road" project that engages all the SCO countries, including two other observer nations, Iran and Afghanistan.

Among the major countries, China is represented by Prime Minister Li Keqiang, India by Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan by its Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Iran is represented by its First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri and Industry Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari.

According to today’s Global Times article, "SCO to Tackle Counterterrorism, Trade," penned by Liu Caiyu, China’s Assistant Minister of Commerce Li Chenggang had earlier called for "further multilateral trade and investment cooperation and opposing trade protectionism in the SCO market." The Global Times reported Li Chenggang’s remarks that, "during the meeting, agreements on e-commerce and services trading are expected to be reached."

Apart from trade and investment, the article cited Zhao Huirong, a research fellow of Central Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, saying, "

a broader counter-terrorism cooperation mechanism can be built, such as launching joint border patrols, as the accession of India and Pakistan extends the geographic range of the SCO as far as South Asia."

Xinhua news agency quoted Prime Minister Li saying that

"the SCO has become an important platform to safeguard regional stability and promote mutual development and prosperity since it was founded 16 years ago."