China’s President Xi Jinping on Friday called for regional countries to reshape the international order at a summit in Uzbekistan touted as a challenge to Western global influence.
Leaders should “work together to promote the development of the international order in a more just and rational direction”, Xi said at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation including the leaders of Russia, Iran and central Asian countries.
The SCO — made up of China, India, Pakistan, Russia and the ex-Soviet Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — was set up in 2001 as a political, economic and security organisation to rival Western institutions.
Xi told the summit that members should “abandon zero-sum games and bloc politics”, as well as “uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core”.
In remarks published later Friday by state news agency Xinhua, Xi urged member states to “continue carrying out joint counter-terrorism exercises (and) crack down on the ‘three forces’, drug trafficking, cyber and transnational organized crime”.
Chinese officials commonly characterise the “three forces” — terrorism, separatism and extremism — as threats to stability in its contentious northwestern region of Xinjiang.
China has been accused of detaining more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities there, though Beijing denies the allegations.
Xi said China was willing to work with members to establish a “training base for anti-terrorism professionals” and train 2,000 law enforcement staff, according to Xinhua.
“At present, profound changes unseen in a century are accelerating, and the world has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation,” Xi reportedly said, pointing to the Covid-19 pandemic, economic protectionism and the division of the world into geopolitical blocs.
“The deficit of peace, development, trust and governance continues unabated. Human society is at a crossroads and facing unprecedented challenges,” he said.
He also reportedly said states “should guard against ‘color revolutions’ instigated by external forces (and) oppose interference in other countries’ internal affairs under any pretext”.