Mon, Jun 11, 2018 - Page 4 News List

G7 feuds; Xi and Putin tout own club

ENEMIES OF ENEMIES:Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also addressed the summit, at which leaders criticized US unilateralism while steering clear of their own conflicts

AFP, QINGDAO, China

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday praised the expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) regional security bloc at a summit that put on a show of unity contrasting with the acrimonious G7 Leaders’ Summit, which ended yesterday in Charlevoix, Canada.

In Qingdao in China’s Shandong Province, Xi gave the Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Indian President Narendra Modi a “special welcome” to their first summit of the SCO since their countries joined the group last year.

Founded in 2001, the SCO also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose country is an observer member, also attended the meeting as he seeks Chinese and Russian support following the US’ withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Tehran.

“Unilateralism, trade protectionism and a backlash against globalization are taking new forms,” Xi said, advocating the “pursuit of cooperation for mutual benefit.”

While never mentioning the US by name, he added: “We should reject the Cold War mentality and confrontation between blocs, and oppose the practice of seeking absolute security of oneself at the expense of others, so as to obtain security of all.”

Xi, whose government is locked in tough negotiations with the US to avoid a trade war, said that WTO rules and the multilateral trading system should be upheld to build an open world economy.

“We should reject self-centered, shortsighted and closed-door policies,” said Xi — whose country has been accused of restricting broad access for foreign firms to its huge market.

Addressing the SCO leaders seated, Putin said that the addition of Pakistan and India to the organization means it “has become even stronger.”

While Xi feted his peers with fireworks, SCO members have their own disagreements, with India worried about China’s trade infrastructure projects in disputed territory in Pakistan, and China and India having their own heated border dispute in the Himalayas last year.

However, no disharmony was evident during the two-day summit in Qingdao.

The show of unity was in stark contrast to the calamitous end to G7 meeting after US President Donald Trump disowned a joint summit statement and said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was “dishonest” and “weak.”

Xi touted security cooperation — the original raison d’etre of the SCO — and announced that China would open a 30 billion yuan (US$4.67 billion) special lending facility within the bloc’s interbank consortium.

Putin said trade and investment among SCO countries was growing, and Russia and China would propose a Eurasian economic partnership for all member states.

With the president of aspiring full member Iran looking on, Putin said that Moscow still supports the Iran nuclear deal that Trump recently abandoned.

The US withdrawal “can further destabilize the situation,” but Russia is in favor of the “unconditional implementation” of the pact, he said..

However, Putin voiced his support for Trump’s summit tomorrow with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

The “US’ effort to impose its policies on others is an expanding danger,” Rouhani said.

He said the US was monitoring the global reaction to its withdrawal from the nuclear deal and a weak response would encourage it to carry on acting unilaterally.

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