China on Wednesday said it backs the entry of India and Pakistan into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and was willing to work with other members to complete the procedures for their accession.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the SCO summit in Russian city Ufa last year initiated the procedures of admitting India and Pakistan into SCO. “China supports India and Pakistan to join the SCO, and China is willing to cooperate and work with SCO members as well as India and Pakistan to do the follow-up work,” he said.
It is important for these two countries to join the six-member grouping, Hong said. Hong’s remarks come about a week ahead of the SCO Foreign Ministers meet in Uzbek capital Tashkent on May 23-24. SCO members included China, energy-rich Kazakhstan and Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have been observers, while Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners in the grouping. The Beijing-backed SCO is widely seen as a platform for Russia and China to project influence in the region.