The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation is scheduled to be held in Beijing on May 14 and 15. As well as consolidating the international consensus for sustainable and inclusive development, the China-proposed initiative is forging stronger bonds among participating countries and promoting more mutual understanding between peoples with different cultural backgrounds.
Three years in the making, the initiative has expanded from its original design of being a way to create greater infrastructure connectivity and promote trade and investment, and it now embraces people-to-people and cultural exchanges to forge greater understanding and friendship.
China has signed agreements on cultural exchanges with many of the participating countries and carried out various bilateral cultural activities. It has also inked agreements with 24 countries involved in the initiative for mutual recognition of university degrees and other credentials.
China hopes deepened cooperation with participating countries in such fields as education, culture and tourism will help promote greater inclusiveness and openness, which in turn will provide intrinsic momentum to strengthen international collaboration under the framework of the Belt and Road.
The ancient land and maritime Silk Road routes used to serve as a nexus for international trade and cultural exchanges. Today, the world is in dire need of more communication and better understanding between different cultures, religions and civilizations.
Almost all the problems and crises facing the world today have their roots in a lack of communication and understanding. China’s Belt and Road Initiative provides both a new vision and unique solutions for the world to achieve the goals of openness and shared development that are essential to counter the exclusiveness and intolerance that brew distrust and conflict.
The initiative embraces extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, which can help forge a community of shared destiny.
As President Xi Jinping has said on many occasions, the relationship between two countries is based on the affection between the two peoples, and stronger bonds at the people-to-people level can better unite peoples.
At the upcoming international forum, representatives from more than 100 countries are expected to explore ways to promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
Interactions along the ancient Silk Road shaped its spirit of commerce, which was not just the trade in commodities but also the impulse of inquiry and the interchange of cultures and ideas. Today, the Belt and Road Initiative embodies that spirit in its pursuit of solidarity and mutual trust, equality and mutual benefit, and its willingness to learn from others.