China for early accession of Pakistan to SCO full member: FO Spokesperson

China for early accession of Pakistan to SCO full member: FO Spokesperson

BEIJING: (APP) China said on Monday that it looked forward to the early accession of Pakistan to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as full members so that they could work with existent members to contribute to security, stability, common development and prosperity of the region.

"The memorandum on the obligations for India and Pakistan to obtain membership in the SCO was signed at the SCO Tashkent Summit in 2016. Currently, all sides were going through relevant legal procedures in accordance with the memorandum," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Hua Chunying remarked while responding to a question during her regular press briefing held here.

According to media reports, the SCO was expected to officially embrace Pakistan and India as full members at the upcoming summit in June in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

The spokesperson said both Pakistan and India were China's important neighbors and important countries in South Asia.

"China hopes that India and Pakistan can enhance mutual trust and improve relations through more dialogues. This is conducive to not only the two countries themselves but also to regional prosperity and development," she added.

When asked to comment on Turkey's willingness to strengthen cooperation with the SCO several times, Hua Chunying said, the SCO followed the principle of openness and valued cooperation with its observers and dialogue partners.

"Turkey is an important country in the Eurasia and an SCO dialogue partner. China is ready to work with other SCO members, on the basis of consensus, to look at Turkey's aspiration to deepen its cooperation with the SCO," she added.

Regarding details of the Saudi King's visit to China this week, she said, at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, King Salman of Saudi Arabia would pay a state visit to China from March 15 to 18.

During the visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping would hold talks with King Salman, and Premier Li Keqiang and NPC Chairman Zhang Dejiang would meet King Salman respectively.

"Leaders of the two countries will exchange views on China-Saudi Arabia relations and other issues of shared interest," she added.

She recalled, in January 2016, during President Xi Jinping's state visit to Saudi Arabia, the two countries established a comprehensive strategic partnership, injecting new impetus into the China-Saudi Arabia relations in the new era.

The China-Saudi Arabia high-level joint committee, co-headed by Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed, held its inaugural meeting last August in Beijing.

"China attaches great importance to the friendship and cooperation with Saudi Arabia. We stand ready to take King Salman's visit as an opportunity to take China-Saudi Arabia comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level," the Spokesperson added.

Responding to a question regarding updates about the number of foreign leaders that had confirmed their attendance at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, she said, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held in Beijing in May this year was a grand global gathering of all sides planning and building the Belt and Road together and sharing the fruits of mutually beneficial cooperation together.

It was also an important cooperation platform for countries to enhance international cooperation and complementarities of their development strategies.

"We are planning to invite around 25 foreign leaders to attend the roundtable and around 1,200 Chinese and foreign delegates from various sectors to the dialogue," she added.

She said, over 20 foreign leaders had already confirmed their attendance and the invitation work for the High-Level Dialogue was well underway.