As the SCO summit began on Thursday, June 13 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Chinese President Xi Jinping became the first to arrive in Bishkek. He landed at 8 pm a day before the summit with a massive delegation including top echelons of the Chinese government and the communist party. Kyrgyzstan is the first stop of Xi's two-country Central Asia trip, which will also take him to Tajikistan for a state visit and the fifth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe.
Xi's entourage includes the following:
Importance of the delegation:
While China is looking for engagement in Asia for its Belt and Road initiative, a massive delegation of the Communist party is also a show of strength in light of China's ongoing trade war with the United States of America.
As Kyrgyz counterpart, Sooronbay Jeenbekov received Xi at the airport, Xi said, China and Kyrgyzstan have become truly good neighbors, good friends and good partners and underlined the importance of Belt and Road initiative.
Bilateral meeting with Chinese president and its importance:
Prime Minister Modi is all set to hold a bilateral meeting with Xi Jinping. While briefing about Xi Jinping's schedule at the SCO summit, Chinese vice foreign minister Zhang Hanhui described PM Modi and Xi as 'good friends'. The meeting assumes significance as this is the first meeting between the two leaders after Modi-led BJP's massive victory in the recent elections in India. Xi had congratulated Modi on his re-election through a letter on May 23.
"Once again we congratulate Prime Minister Modi. President Xi and Prime Minister Modi are good friends. They had very successful informal summit at Wuhan last year," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui told a media briefing answering a question on the Modi-Xi meeting.
The Wuhan summit provided strategic guidance for the development of India-China ties, paving the way for stable growth of China-India relations in the long run.The April 27-28 Wuhan summit between Modi and Xi was largely credited to have turned around the bilateral relations soured by the 73-day Doklam standoff in 2017, triggered by Chinese troops' attempt to build a road close to the Indian border in an area also claimed by Bhutan.
After the Wuhan summit, both the countries stepped up efforts to improve relations in different spheres including the military-to-military ties. When asked about the planned Modi-Xi meeting on the sidelines of the SCO summit, Zhang said, "While the details for the meeting are under discussion, I believe every bilateral meeting between President Xi and Prime Minister Modi is very important. From the Chinese side, we will make good perpetrations for the success of bilateral meeting." He also said the China-US trade war and the "spectre" of emerging trade frictions between the US and India could become important part of the discussions between the two leaders.
"Whether they will talk about trade frictions between China and the US and the spectre of trade frictions between the US and India Such things are not surprising. I believe this could become an important topic in his bilateral meetings with related leaders," Zhang Hanhui had added.
In December last year, Prime Minister Modi met President Xi on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina and discussed joint efforts to further enhance mutual trust and friendship between the two giant neighbours.
Meanwhile, a delegation of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) concluded its four-day visit to India on Saturday and both sides pledged to enhance mutual trust and boost cooperation in various fields. During the visit, head of the CPC delegation Li Xi, who is a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and the secretary of the party's Guangdong Provincial Committee, met India's new External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and other political leaders.
Li said that under the guidance of the leaders of both countries, China-India relations have shown a strong momentum of development and his visit is aimed at implementing the important consensus of the leaders, enhancing mutual trust and expanding pragmatic cooperation, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Li has conveyed China's firm position, confidence and determination on China-US trade frictions, the report said.
China and India share common interests in promoting world multi-polarisation, economic globalisation and maintaining multilateralism, Li said, adding that China is willing to work with India to jointly meet challenges and share development opportunities. The CPC is willing to exchange experiences in governance with the major political parties in India and consolidate the political foundation of China-India relations, he said.
What is the SCO?
Formed in April 1996, the SCO is a China-led political, economic and security bloc comprising eight members -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan. Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov is currently heading the organization. The SCO represents around 42% of the world’s population, 22% of its land area and around 20% of GDP.
The Bishkek Summit
The Council of Heads of States is the apex decision-making body in the SCO, which holds annual meetings in one of the member states' capitals. The Council of Foreign Ministers holds regular meetings, where international situation and the SCO's interaction with other international organizations are discussed. Besides, the Council of National Coordinators coordinates the multilateral cooperation of member states within the framework of the SCO's charter.
A delegation-level meeting is also planned with the participation of the four SCO observer states: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia. The SCO also recognizes six "dialogue partners”. They are -- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey -- the only NATO member in the group.