QINGDAO — Chinese President Xi Jinping June 10 praised the entry of India and Pakistan into a bloc headed by China during a regional summit that contrasted with that of the G7 that ended in disagreements.
Xi welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, whose presence he said is "of great historical significance" in the opening remarks he made at the weekend summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, held in the port of Qingdao, in the east of China. Both South Asian nations entered last year as full members in the bloc.
"More member states means greater strength of the organization as well as greater attention and expectations from the peoples of the countries of the region and the international community," Xi said June 10.
"We also share greater responsibilities in maintaining regional security and stability and in fostering development and prosperity," he added.
The Beijing-led bloc, which experts say seeks to challenge the order headed by the West, is dominated by China and Russia and includes Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Founded in 2001, it was originally conceived as a vehicle for solving border problems, fighting terrorism and, more implicitly, counteracting U.S. influence in Central Asia after the United States invaded Afghanistan.
In recent years, its economic component has become more prominent due to the multimillion-dollar foreign aid policy and infrastructure signed by Xi known as the Belt and Silk Road Initiative.