China has welcomed Pakistan’s entry into Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as its permanent member, hoping that it will strengthen the organisation in improving regional security and socio-economic life of the people.

The SCO is scheduled to hold a summit on June 23 and 24 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan that will pave a way for Pakistan’s role as its regular member.

President Mamnoon Hussain will represent Pakistan at the Summit that will be highly significant since it will formally accept Pakistan as its full member, recognising the country’s geostrategic role in the region.

Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed the planned expansion of the SCO, and called on member states to uphold the “Shanghai Spirit” for common development, China believes that admission of Pakistan and some other new forces into the SCO will inject new impetus into the organisation’s all-ranging cooperation.

Meanwhile, the 13th meeting of defence ministers of member states of the SCO was held in Kazakhstan’s Astana. The participating members include defence ministers of Kazakhstan, China, Russia and Tajikistan, President of the National Defense Affair Committee of Kyrghyzstan, Army Chief of Uzbekistan, the SCO Secretary General and the Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Anti-Terrorism Structure.

The meeting was hosted by Imangali Tasmagambetov, defence minister of Kazakhstan.

Gen. Chang Wanquan, Chinese state councillor and defence minister, led a delegation to attend the meeting. He delivered a speech at the meeting, suggesting that the SCO member states adhere to the “Shanghai Spirit” that means mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respecting for diverse civilizations and seeking common development, take safeguarding regional peace as their top priority, deepen pragmatic cooperation, so as to make new contributions to maintaining regional peace and stability.

Chang stressed that concerning to the South China Sea issue, China is always committed to settling disputes with relevant parties through direct negotiation and friendly consultation on the basis of respecting the historical facts and international law. China also opposes the internationalisation of the South China Sea issue and external intervention, Chang said, adding that no matter what kind of ruling the International Tribunal makes, China will not accept nor recognise the adjudication.

The participating members also reached the agreement that the defence departments and militaries of the SCO member states should further deepen cooperation to jointly safeguard regional security and stability, as the current menace of terrorism around the world is rising. It is learnt that the Joint Communique of SCO Defense Ministers and other documents have been signed during the meeting.