Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed heads of state and government to the 18th Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Qingdao with a short speech that linked the Chinese past with the Chinese future and by extrapolation linked the winds of pan-Asian cooperation with a better future that is collective in spirit and individuated in terms of unique civilisational characteristics in pursuit of common goals.
President Xi began his remarks by telling his fellow SCO leaders that Qingado’s Shandong province was the birth place of Confucius and therefore an integral part of Chinese civilisation. Citing the wisdom of Confucius, XI stated:
“A just cause should be perused for the common good and should champion harmony unity and a shared community for all nations. Its emphasis on unity and harmony has much in common with the Shanghai spirit – namely mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for the diversity of civilisations and the purist of common development. The Shanghai spirit’s focus on seeking common ground while setting aside differences and pursuing mutually beneficial cooperation has won widespread international endorsement and support.
Guided by the Shanghai spirit, our organisation has delivered fruitful outcomes in security, economic and cultural cooperation and made historic strides in institution building. Today, the eight member states four observer states and six dialogue partners, the SCO has become an important force for upholding regional security, promoting common development and improving global governance”.
The Chinese President then spoke of the history of Qingdao as an historic sailing capital which in 2008 hosted the sailing competitions as part of the Beijing Summer Olympic Games. Xi then said,
“It is from here that many ships set sail in pursuit of dreams. Tomorrow we will hold the first summit of the SCO after its expansion and draw up a blueprint for its future growth. The Qingdao summit is a new departure point for us. Together we hoist the sail of the Shanghai spirit, break waves and depart on a new voyage for our organisation”.
Xi’s remarks combined the essence of the Shanghai spirit with the real world pragmatism that makes dreams far more tangible than lofty ambition let alone avarice. By bringing nations representing 60% of the global landmass together to work cooperative towards the goals of accelerated development, peace through prosperity on the win-win model and cultural exchange, it is possible to harness the success that China has witnessed over the past decades internally and allow other nations to rapidly increase the speed and scope of their development in line with respect for the unique characteristics of all countries.
This contrasts sharply with the open rows, childish insults and seemingly unsolvable disagreements which have plagued a summit of the G7 nations being held simultaneously in Canada. By contrast, the pan-Asia spirit of working among sovereign nations and civilisations in order to create economic and cultural interconnectivity offers the world its greatest possibility for peace through the creation of moderately prosperous societies throughout a historic connected Asian and Eurasian space.
After his remarks, Xi Jinping offered a toast to the prosperity of the men, women and nations represented in the hall before guests were treated to an impressive display of electronic waterworks, fireworks, lights and music.
The full opening ceremony of the 18th SCO summit can be viewed below
Now watch the spectacular display of lights, music, waterworks, fireworks and dancing from Qingdao