November 10, 2023
BEIJING – Dialogues between civilizations need to be strengthened, domestic and foreign experts said at the Inter-Civilizational Communication and Global Development Forum, which opened in Beijing on Tuesday.
Xie Chuntao, executive vice-president of the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (National Academy of Governance), which organized the three-day forum, said the event aims to build an international exchange platform for people to contribute wisdom to promote exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Speaking on the Chinese vision for a harmonious, peaceful, secure world and the goals of Chinese modernization, John Thornton, chair emeritus of the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit research group in Washington, DC, said: “We all agree the concept is the right one. What we have is the issue of execution.”
Thornton stressed the important and immediate need for communication within and among people throughout the world — a dialogue of civilizations on people-to-people communication in particular.
“While the two countries sort out what is genuinely national security and what is not, trade will eventually resume and can be very robust,” Thornton told China Daily.
Zheng Bijian, former executive vice-president of the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC and founding chairman of China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, said that China, while safeguarding its national sovereignty and territorial integrity, is pursuing its national development and modernization in a peaceful and civilized manner.
The 91-year-old noted that exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations are the fundamental way to achieve modernization that conforms to a certain country’s historical and cultural characteristics, and that China opposes protectionism, unilateral sanctions, barriers and decoupling.
Former Belgian prime minister Yves Leterme said via video link that both China and the European Union embrace the ideals of multipolarity and economic globalization, and affirm their commitment to multilateralism.
“It is really crucial to reinvigorate this partnership with enhanced trust and reduced mutual suspicion, embracing real openness over restrictions, and shared responsibilities over exclusion,” he said.
Leterme proposed a pluralistic approach to China-EU cooperation, which attaches great importance to people-to-people exchanges, economic cooperation and co-investment, as well as improved infrastructure links.
Christine Cayol, founder of Yishu 8, or the Beijing Sino-French House of Art, who has been living in China for almost two decades, said that this experience has broadened her mindset and helped her understand other civilizations.
Around 150 dignitaries, scholars, entrepreneurs and cultural celebrities from more than 30 countries and regions are attending the event themed “Tradition of Civilization and Paths to Modernization”.
Topics on exchanges among Chinese, European, Central Asian and Arab civilizations, as well as their paths to modernization, are being discussed at the event.
A sub-forum on China-Europe inter-civilizational communication and mutual learning was also held on Tuesday. Attendees discussed topics such as how China and Europe, as important participants in the process of world multipolarity and economic globalization, can maintain dialogue in an open and inclusive manner, and how they can play a bigger role in maintaining world peace and stability, promoting global prosperity and sustainable development, and advancing human civilization.