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Former ambassador calls for promoting dialogue among great river civilizations

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-11-28 16:58
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Former ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming speaks at the First Yangtze River Culture Nanjing Forum in Nanjing, Jiangsu province on Nov 24. [Photo/rmlt.com.cn]

Former ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming urged countries in great river basins to jointly promote dialogue and work for a better future for all during his keynote speech at the First Yangtze River Culture Nanjing Forum in Nanjing, Jiangsu province on Nov 24.

Liu said countries in great river basins not only have their different features but also have some common features; these countries all created time-honored and splendid river civilizations, endured the same or similar hardships and difficulties and all face the task of achieving revitalization and creating a sustainable future.

Liu mentioned that currently, human society faced unprecedented challenges. For instance, headwinds against economic globalization and rampant acts of unilateralism and protectionism, narratives of clashes and estrangement among civilizations, superiority of certain civilizations, the Cold War mentality, bullying, coercion, zero-sum rivalry and other acts of hegemonism still exist. "Faced with these challenges, no one should be indifferent, and no country can stay immune," Liu said.

On how to enhance the effectiveness of international communication of great river civilizations and tell their splendid stories well, Liu holds the following five points as crucial.

First, countries in great river basins need to strengthen theoretical guidance, promote exchanges, embrace creativity, openness and inclusiveness on international communication, tapping into the historical and cultural heritage of great river civilizations to better present the core tenets of the civilizations.

Second, they need to foster stronger empathy and appeal by promoting mutual learning among different civilizations. They should jointly implement the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) put forth by China, advocate the common values of humanity, uphold equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness among civilizations, and carry out in-depth, diversified and effective exchanges, to facilitate equality, mutual learning, inclusiveness and common progress among the great river civilizations.

Third, they need to strengthen cooperation in sustainable development and promote green development, keep to the correct direction of economic globalization and prioritize investment in environmental protection, tell stories in more understandable ways, jointly tackle the challenge of climate change and strengthen biodiversity conservation.

Fourth, they need to carry forward the Silk Road spirit of peace and cooperation and the Belt and Road forum. They should harness the Belt and Road platform to strengthen connectivity and mutually beneficial cooperation among countries and regions along the great rivers.

Fifth, they need to uphold righteousness and firmly reject the Cold War mentality and camp-based confrontation. They should abandon arrogance and prejudice, oppose rhetoric of civilizational clashes, refute and counter distorted narratives and slanders during the process of telling stories of great river civilizations.

The First Yangtze River Culture Nanjing Forum was held by UNESCO and related institutions, with over 400 experts from China and abroad attending the forum. Liu concluded that this forum is a great platform for river civilizations to deepen communication and cooperation, while uniting wisdom and ideas to jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.

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