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Hu Jintao: SCO will Expand

In the run-up to his state visit to Russia, due on March 26-28 on an invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin, China’s President Hu Jintao gave an interview with Russia’s leading media.

The Chinese leader commented on bilateral relations, the holding of the Year of Russia in China and the Year of China in Russia, the two countries’ economic cooperation, information exchanges, China’s efforts to build of a harmonious socialistic society, the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and issues related to the activity of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), reported Xinhua.

Among other things, the Chinese chairman said that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was drafting a document on its expansion.

"Several countries have already expressed their willingness to join the SCO,” he said. “All the member-countries should reach consensus on the issue,” he said.

Today, the SCO comprises six nations – China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Tajikistan, with India, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan and Afghanistan acting as observers.

Hu Jintao said that the SCO members are good and important partners, who have been showing political will to consolidate cooperation. "There is a great potential and favourable prospects for cooperation in various spheres," the Chinese leader said with confidence.

Hu Jintao said that cooperation within the SCO was aimed to secure peace, enhance security and trust in the region, and “to counteract jointly the three evils – drug and arms trafficking, and transborder crime.”

In addition, the SCO member-countries are making efforts to strengthen regional economic cooperation and to create favourable conditions for trade and investment. They also maintain cooperation in science, technology, healthcare, culture, sports, tourism and the humanitarian sphere. Hu Jintao laid an emphasis on partnership between China, Russia and India, which, he said, contributed to the development of the entire region and the whole world.

"Cooperation between China, Russia and India is not aimed against any third countries, it will benefit the development of the three countries and contribute to peace and regional and global development,” the Chinese leader said.

"All the three countries favour the multipolar world order, the democratization of international relations and the preservation of the world’s diversity, and have called for settling international affairs and interstate relations on the basis of universally accepted provisions of international law and enhancing the role of the UN," he said quoted by RIA Novosti.