SOCHI, Russia, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in the Russian city of Sochi Thursday for the 16th meeting of the Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of Government (Prime Ministers).
The SCO meeting, scheduled for Thursday and Friday, is the first of its kind after the organization's membership expansion in June to include India and Pakistan.
The Chinese premier will expound the principles and policies of the major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era, and its significance to the ties between China and the SCO countries, said Assistant Foreign Minister Li Huilai.
China, which holds the first rotating presidency after the expansion, will work with other countries to promote the Belt and Road construction, and reach new consensus on the alignment of development strategies, connectivity, industrial capacity cooperation and cultural exchanges, he said.
Founded in 2001, the SCO has China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan as its full members. It has four observer states, namely Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia, and six dialogue partners, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.
The SCO now covers three-fifths of Eurasia, and has nearly half of the world population.
Before heading to Sochi, Li met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow Wednesday. The two sides agreed to advance bilateral ties and strengthen all-round cooperation.