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QINGDAO (China): President Mamnoon Hussain arrived in the coastal city of Shandong province on Friday to attend the 18th meeting of the Council of Heads of States of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

He was received by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou and Vice Governor of Shandong Ren Airong at the Qingdao Liuting International Airport. Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Ambassador to China Masood Khalid were also present to receive the president.

President Hussain is attending the SCO summit at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping who will chair the meeting. Besides addressing the high-profile gathering, Mr Hussain will also hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from China, Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to discuss ties and ways of further enhancing the cooperation.

Talking to the Chinese media ahead of his departure for the summit, President Hussain said that as a new member Pakistan was committed to enhancing its relations with all SCO member states on the basis of mutual trust, respect and equality.

He said Pakistan saw the SCO as an important framework for regional cooperation and it had played a vital role in safeguarding peace and security in the region.

The president said the SCO promoted multifaceted cooperation in the region in a wide array of fields. “It allows us to share perspectives and coordinate positions and develop practical and concrete cooperation with these important countries,” he was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying.

The president hailed the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) as an important and useful forum for cooperation against the common enemy of terrorism and said Pakistan had successfully combated terrorism and was ready to share its experiences in tackling the menace of terrorism through the SCO-RATS.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2018