Zhang Ming, China’s departing ambassador to the European Union, has been named secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), an eight-nation security pact that includes India.
Zhang took office on January 1 after four years as the head of the Chinese representation to the EU.
Zhang, 65, will be located at the SCO secretariat in Beijing, succeeding Vladimir Norov, a former Uzbek diplomat who has been in the position since 2019.
“According to SCO rules and as approved by the Council of Heads of States of the SCO, Zhang Ming has assumed the role of the SG of the SCO for a term of three years from January 1 this year,” said Wang Wenbin, a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry. I am confident that, like his predecessors, he will make new strides.”
“As the SCO secretariat’s host country, China will continue to support the secretariat and the secretary-general, and will work with other parties to uphold the Shanghai spirit, deepen political security, trade, connectivity, and cultural cooperation,” Wang added.
India, Kazakhstan, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are the eight members of the SCO.
Four nations have “observer” status in the security-focused group, while six more have “dialogue partners” status.
In 2017, India and Pakistan became members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) during the Astana summit.
Zhang had previously worked in the Chinese Ministry of International Affairs as both an assistant minister and vice-minister of foreign affairs. He had previously served in Yemen, Oman, and Israel, among other nations.
The SCO head’s remarks come against the background of Pakistan’s repeated attempts to bring up the bilateral issue of Kashmir at the international conference, in violation of the mechanism’s mandate.
After his Pakistani colleague, Moeed Yusuf, displayed a map that wrongly portrayed the two nations’ borders, NSA Ajit Doval stormed out of a virtual meeting of SCO national security advisors in September.
In November, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar slammed another attempt to bring up bilateral issues during the SCO Council of Heads of Government’s 20th meeting.
“It is regrettable to notice that repeated attempts have been made to bring bilateral matters into the SCO. This is against the SCO Charter’s well-established values and practices. Such activities are incompatible with the organization’s culture of agreement and collaboration, and should be denounced,” Jaishankar added.