BEIJING, Jan 06, (Asia Free Press): The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), one of the world’s largest political and economic alliances, got its new Secretary-General named Zhang Ming, a China’s veteran diplomat, according to media reports.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Wang Wenbin during his regular briefing held on Wednesday confirmed the appointment while describing Zhang as an experienced diplomat who was capable of pushing the development of the bloc, reported APP.
“According to SCO rules and as approved by the Council of Heads of State of the SCO, Zhang Ming has assumed the role of Secretary-General of the SCO for the term of three years from January 01, this year,” the spokesperson said in his briefing.
Zhang, until recently China’s ambassador to the European Union (EU), a veteran diplomat with rich experience in multilateral diplomacy, was the first Chinese head of the group since Chinese diplomat Zhang Deguang left office in 2006.
Zhang, who will take over as SCO Secretary-General from Uzbekistan-based Vladimir Norov, will be based in Beijing, at one of the group’s two headquarters – the other is in Uzbekistan.
The spokesperson Wenbin also expressed the confidence that like his predecessors, he will achieve the new progress. As the host country of the SCO secretariat, China will continue to support the work of the SCO secretariat and the secretary-general, Wenbin added.
The SCO with 40 per cent of the world’s population and almost a quarter of global gross domestic product, make it the second-largest organisation in the world after the United Nations.
The SCO currently comprises eight Member States (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), four Observer States interested in acceding to full membership (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia) and six “Dialogue Partners” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey).
In 2021, the decision was made to start the accession process of Iran to the SCO as a full member, and Egypt, Qatar as well as Saudi Arabia became dialogue partners.
Since its inception in 2001, the SCO has mainly focused on regional security issues, its fight against regional terrorism, ethnic separatism and religious extremism. To date, the SCO’s priorities also include regional development.