Xi hails expanded SCO"s newstaff wristbands voyage

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President Xi Jinping hosts a dinner on Saturday evening to welcome guests gathered in the coastal city of Qingdao for the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit. XU JINGXING/CHINA DAILY

He says summit to draw up "blueprint for future growth"

President Xi Jinping called for concerted efforts to usher in a new voyage for the development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as he hosted SCO leaders at a banquet in Qingdao, Shandong province, on Saturday.

Xi said the 18th SCO Summit should be a departure point for the organization to hoist the sail of the "Shanghai Spirit" and embark on a new voyage.

"Guided by the Shanghai Spirit, our organization has delivered fruitful outcomes in security, economic and cultural cooperation, and made historic strides in institution-building," Xi said.

He added that with eight member states, four observer states and six dialogue partners, the SCO has become an important force for upholding regional security, promoting common development and improving global governance.

He also noted that Shandong was the home of Confucius and the birthplace of Confucianism, which is an integral part of Chinese culture.

Confucianism states that "a just cause should be pursued for the common good" and champions harmony, unity and a shared community for all nations, he said.

There is much in common between Confucianism, which emphasizes unity and harmony, and the Shanghai Spirit, the SCO"s underlining values-mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations and the pursuit of common development, he said.

Xi said the Shanghai Spirit"s focus on seeking common ground while setting aside differences and pursuing mutually beneficial cooperation has won widespread international endorsement and support.

He said Qingdao is a famous international sailing capital, and it is from the city that many ships set sail in pursuit of dreams.

"Tomorrow, we will hold the first summit of the SCO after its expansion and draw up a blueprint for its future growth," he said.

Shandong elements, including cuisine and specialties, were highlights of the banquet.

Before the banquet, the leaders attending the summit took a group photo in front of a wall painting that featured flourishing peonies, a flower for which Shandong province is renowned.

Heze, a city in Shandong, was named the "Peony Capital" by the China Flower Association in 2012. The city"s cultivation of peonies, which represent elegance and nobility, dates back 1,400 years.

The banquet also featured the cuisine of the Confucius family.

Cuisine from Qufu, the hometown of Confucius, was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2011.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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