In his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing on May 15, President Xi Jinping called on countries to treat each other as equals for the peaceful coexistence of civilizations.
The conference, proposed by Xi, aims to promote cross-civilizational exchanges and mutual learning across this culturally diverse continent and beyond and the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.
Makhdoom Babar, Editor in Chief of Pakistani newspaper The Daily Mail, Yury V. Tavrovsky, a professor of international relations at the Russian People's Friendship University, and Oraib Al Rantawi, Director General of the Al-Quds Center for Political Studies in Jordan, shared their thoughts and observations with Beijing Review. Edited excerpts of their views follow:
Makhdoom Babar, Editor in Chief of Pakistani newspaper The Daily Mail
Makhdoom Babar: President Xi's speech was very comprehensive. He urged the Asian communities to come closer to each other for the development of humanity and for forging better relations not only for economic development but for human development in this region.
The Belt and Road Initiative is entering into a second phase. Many important components like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor are entering into new eras. Such a gathering is necessary in order to raise awareness about Asian civilizations. Shared views and perceptions are important to synchronize joint efforts.
Such efforts can make people understand each other more and explore more opportunities for peaceful coexistence, setting aside their language and cultural barriers.
Major partners in the globalization process like the United States do not let the underdeveloped or developing countries get the benefits of globalization. They do not transfer the benefits of the overall globalization and therefore the process is negatively impacting Asian countries because there were no joint platforms in Asia to move forward with globalization.
I think through the Belt and Road Initiative globalization will now have a positive impact on Asian countries and civilizations.
Yury V. Tavrovsky, a professor of international relations at the Russian People's Friendship University
Yury V. Tavrovsky: Right now we see two tendencies in the world--one is globalization and the other is de-globalization. The U.S. tries to destroy the present world order. It has canceled its participation in various global agreements like the Paris climate accord. China leads globalization. It offers to the world great ideas like the Belt and Road initiative and a shared future for Asia and entire humanity. This is very important. China now offers a new beacon of hope.
Oraib Al Rantawi, Director General of the Al-Quds Center for Political Studies in Jordan
Oraib Al Rantawi: President Xi made a very warm opening speech expressing his willingness to open arms to all civilizations in Asia and beyond. He emphasized the need to deal with different civilizations on an equal footing. No civilization has the right to be a superior one. Instead of the clash of civilizations, he emphasized the need of cooperation between civilizations. These are good ideas. It reverses the direction of many developments in the world that are leading to a more confrontational relationship between countries and civilizations.
I think this conference is a good start of a new process in Asia and beyond for more dialogue based on our shared future. It kicked off a series of processes starting from Beijing, but it needs to be followed up by a series of initiatives.
The unbalanced development in the continent is one of the big challenges. We have rich countries and poor countries. We have millions of people still living in poverty and miserable situations, especially women and children. Extremism has created serious security and stability challenges. What needs to be done by our governments and people is to confront these challenges.
Each civilization has its share in the human heritage. We build upon the achievement of each other. The uniqueness of each civilization should enrich the diversity of humankind, and the diversity is a source of strength, not a source of weakness. There shouldn't be such confrontational thinking that will lead to regional and internal conflicts. It also harms international security and stability.
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