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China to offer loans to SCO nations

PRESIDENT Hu Jintao said yesterday that China will provide loans worth US$10 billion to member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to help shore up their economies amid the global financial crisis.

China will also organize visits by trade and investment promotion delegations to other SCO countries to boost two-way trade and investment, Hu said in a speech at the organization's summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

The regional organization comprises China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Hu reiterated that China will adhere to its commitments and continue to support cooperation within the SCO framework.

He said although the international financial crisis continues to cause hardship, the long-term promising outlook of the Chinese economy has not changed.

Maintaining "relatively rapid" development of the Chinese economy will have a positive influence on SCO members, the regional economy, as well as the world economy, he said.

The leaders of Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran attended the SCO summit as observers. Also present at the meeting were Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, a guest country of the organization.

At the summit, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pushed his call for new global reserve currencies to complement the US dollar. "No currency system can be successful if we have financial instruments denominated in just one currency," Medvedev said. "We must strengthen the international financial system not only by making the dollar strong but also by creating other reserve currencies."

In a declaration adopted following the two-day session, the leaders said that constructive dialogue and enhanced cooperation are the most effective mechanisms for seeking solutions to regional and international issues, such as security threats, the global financial crisis, food security and climate change.

Officials said they believed that along with the implementation of the deals signed at the Yekaterinburg summit, trade and economic cooperation within the SCO will reach a new high, which will give strong impetus to peaceful development and a harmonious region.

Security cooperation, which has long been a priority of the SCO, also topped the group's agenda. Drug trafficking emanating from Afghanistan and cross-border organized crime have posed grave threats to the security of SCO member states.

In addition to the declaration, the leaders also signed several other documents, including a convention against terrorism and agreements on training anti-terrorist forces of SCO members and cooperation on international information security.



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