On 4-6 July 2017, the Ambassadors Club of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states held its regular offsite session, this time in China's Gansu province which is rightfully considered the "heart of the Great Silk Road."
Taking part were ambassadors extraordinary plenipotentiary of the SCO member states to China and representatives of diplomatic missions: from China — SCO National Coordinator Hong Jiuyin, from Kazakhstan — Ambassador Shakhrat Nuryshev, from Kyrgyzstan — Ambassador Azamat Usenov, from Pakistan — Ambassador Masood Khalid, from Russia — Counsellor Alexander Chernousov, from Tajikistan — First Secretary Habibullo Ismoilov, from Belarus — Ambassador Kiryl Rudy, from Armenia — Ambassador Sergey Manasaryan, from Turkmenistan — Ambassador Chinar Rustamova.
On the first day of the session, the club's delegation visited the town of Dunhuan. In ancient times, it was the gateway to China on the Great Silk Road. The SCO Ambassadors Club members visited the world-famous Mogao cave temples and enjoyed the unspeakable beauty of the sunset from Mount Mingsha and Crescent Lake.
On 6 July, the delegation led by the SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov attended the opening of the 23rd Lanzhou Investment and Trade Fair (China). In his speech at the ceremony, Mr Alimov lauded the ever-existing opportunity to participate in this major event, adding that for years the SCO has been an active and interested partner at this very important Eurasian trade platform. "Throughout all these years the SCO's participation in the fair had great practical significance. Above all, this was a possibility to take a fresh look at the development of trade and economic cooperation in view of the emerging new tendencies and trends in the global economy and determine key avenues for future joint work."
Other speakers at the opening ceremony included: Communist Party Committee Secretary of Gansu Province Lin Duo; China's Vice Minister of Commerce Qian Keming; Vice Chairperson of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Qi Xuchun; Vice President of Nepal Nanda Bahadur Pun; Minister of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia Dato Seri Ong Ka Chuan; Deputy Head of the Committee for Education, Science, Culture, Health and Sports of Hong Kong Gao Jingde.
The SCO Ambassadors Club members also took part in a forum on practical steps by China and Gansu province to improve cooperation with countries along the Silk Road.
During the offsite session, SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov and the SCO Ambassadors Club members met with Gansu Governor Tang Renjian.
The SCO Ambassadors Club usually meets once a month to discuss important issues on the SCO agenda.
Gansu is a province in north-western China with a 25.5-million population. Its administrative centre Lanzhou is also its largest city. Gansu is the place where the Great Wall of China begins and through which the Great Silk Rode ran, connecting China with Central Asia and the Mediterranean.
The Lanzhou Investment and Trade Fair has been held since 1992. It lures more than 10,000 foreign participants and over 100,000 visitors. At present, the Lanzhou fair is an important trade and economic event, a "window" to the world for western Chinese regions and an attractive platform for trade and economic contacts between countries along the Silk Road.