Input: Yu Pin
Source: By Alexis Hooi | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-05-16 09:25
President Xi Jinping delivers the keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing on Wednesday. [Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily]
Every civilization should be allowed to 'fully bloom', he tells dialogue conference
All countries should create the conditions for other civilizations to develop while keeping their own civilization vibrant, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday in Beijing.
"We should allow all civilizations of the world to fully bloom," Xi said in the keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations.
Xi also said all countries should uphold equality and respect and abandon pride and prejudice to promote dialogue and harmonious coexistence among civilizations.
There will be no clash of civilizations as long as people are able to appreciate the beauty of them all, he said.
Xi stressed the need to ensure openness, inclusiveness and mutual learning among civilizations.
He said the conference aims to create a new platform for advancing equal dialogue and mutual learning and inspiration among civilizations in Asia and the rest of the world.
The conference, being held from Wednesday through May 22, has drawn more than 1,300 leaders and representatives from countries and international organizations worldwide to Beijing to work toward consensus on the benefits of a global community with a shared future.
Participants in the conference, which is seen as a new starting point for greater inter-civilizational dialogue, expressed hope for Asia and the international community to conduct more extensive and in-depth interaction.
Singaporean President Halimah Yacob, one of the Asian leaders who spoke at the opening ceremony, said dialogue and empathy are essential to improving understanding and trust and bridging differences.
Artists perform at the Asian Culture Carnival at National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, on Wednesday in Beijing. [Photo by Zhu Xingxin/China Daily]
She said Singapore, with its emphasis on racial and religious harmony, presents a microcosm of a "larger challenge facing the world in getting people with different religions, values and backgrounds to live together harmoniously".
The conference is a good example of conducting dialogue within Asian civilizations as well as reaching out to other civilizations in the world, she said.
Author and public intellectual Parag Khanna, pointing to the major issues that were set to come out of the dialogue and their importance in the current international climate, told China Daily, "The most significant geopolitical reality of the 21st century is that we live for the first time in human history in a world that is both multipolar and multicivilizational.
"Powers of the East and West are equally influential in the world. Thus we need a new kind of understanding of how civilizations will relate to each other premised on coexistence rather than dominance," said Khanna, author of The Future Is Asian: Commerce, Conflict, and Culture in the 21st Century.
"Among the main obstacles are historical mindsets that presume that one power must dominate the system for it to be stable, which is false," he said, adding that there are many "unique civilizations, with none more special than the others".
German Sinologist Ole Doering said the message he took from President Xi's speech was that of "openness, that everybody should contribute what they can and try to engage in mutual learning".
Uxi Mufti, founder of the National Heritage Museum in Pakistan, said Xi "has come up with a wonderful idea. His idea will generate cooperation, in Asia at least. The paradigm of going forward has changed. We are into an age of interdependence."
Laurence Brahm, a senior international fellow at the the Beijing think tank Center for China and Globalization, said, "President Xi's speech set forth a fresh paradigm based on a set of universal values founded on the core heritage and culture of very ancient civilizations.
"The values of Asia are based on nonduality, harmony and synergy, while Western values are premised on the concept of duality often expressed in a zero-sum game," Brahm said.
Other luminaries from the public and private sector also discussed related topics at various forums during the conference, while an Asian culture carnival, Asian civilization week and Asian food festival were being held in conjunction with the main event.
At a forum on the global influence of Asian civilizations, Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore, said dialogue is the "origin of civilization".
Chinese civilization "also originated from dialogue", and conflict in itself cannot produce civilization, said Zheng, whose research interests include China's transformation and its external relations.
Cambodian Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said understanding different civilizations means understanding each other to promote prosperity in a more collaborative way.
"I am very optimistic that today's meeting will form the basis of mutual understanding, thus creating a better world," he sai