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Enhancing Saudi-Chinese inter-civilizational exchanges

Both China and Saudi Arabia boast a long history and ancient civilizations. (Supplied)
Both China and Saudi Arabia boast a long history and ancient civilizations. (Supplied)
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18 Jun 2024 03:06:49 GMT9
18 Jun 2024 03:06:49 GMT9

On June 7, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution, proposed by China and other countries, designating June 10 as the “International Day for Dialogue among Civilizations.” The resolution welcomes celebrations by all member states, UN agencies, international and regional organizations and all sectors of society that aim to enhance people’s awareness of the diversity of civilizations and the importance of exchanges and dialogues among civilizations, to encourage mutual learning and bridge differences, to increase understanding and to unite to address global challenges.

This marks a milestone in the international community’s endeavors to foster exchanges and mutual learning among diverse civilizations, and it has been warmly embraced by those who treasure peace and champion inclusivity.

Civilizations have long been enriched and become more colorful through exchanges and mutual learning.

Throughout history, a rich diversity of civilizations has been created by human societies. They have accumulated profound cultural heritage and distinct characteristics for the development of various countries, contributing significantly to the modernization process of human society across time and space.

The establishment of the International Day for Dialogue among Civilizations aligns closely with the promotion of the Global Civilization Initiative. In March 2023, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Civilization Initiative, which calls for respecting the diversity of civilizations, the common values of humanity, the continuity and evolution of civilizations and closer international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation.

This expresses China’s sincere desire to work with other countries to promote inter-civilizational exchanges and mutual learning and to build a community with a shared future for mankind. The Global Civilization Initiative emerged in response to the demands of the times and has strong practical significance and practical value.

The initiative proposes the following:

Firstly, it advocates respect for the diversity of civilizations. Countries need to uphold the principles of equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness among civilizations and let cultural exchanges transcend estrangement, mutual learning transcend clashes and coexistence transcend feelings of superiority.

Secondly, it advocates the common values of humanity. Peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom are the common aspirations of all peoples. Countries need to keep an open mind in appreciating the perceptions of values by different civilizations and refrain from imposing their own values or models on others and from stoking ideological confrontation. 

Civilizations have long been enriched and become more colorful through exchanges and mutual learning.

Chang Hua

Thirdly, it advocates the importance of inheritance and innovation of civilizations. Countries need to fully harness the relevance of their histories and cultures to the present times and push for the creative transformation and innovative development of their fine traditional cultures.

It also advocates robust international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. Countries need to explore the building of a global network for inter-civilizational dialogue and cooperation, enrich the content of exchanges and expand avenues of cooperation to promote mutual understanding and friendship among people of all countries and jointly advance the progress of human civilizations.

China and Saudi Arabia, among other Arab countries, have always been advocates and practitioners of inter-civilizational dialogue. In December 2022, the first China-Arab States Summit was successfully held in Riyadh, writing a new chapter of exchanges and mutual learning between the Chinese and Arab civilizations.

At the 10th Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum held in May this year, President Xi proposed working with the Arab side to establish “five cooperation frameworks” based on the “eight major cooperation initiatives” of China-Arab practical cooperation. This fully demonstrates that it is a shared aspiration of China and Arab countries to build China-Arab relations into a benchmark for world peace and stability, as well as a model for the harmonious coexistence of diverse civilizations.

There is no unified standard for civilization and no civilization is superior to others. The diversity of civilizations is both a basic feature of human society and a driving force for the progress of human civilization.

Both China and Saudi Arabia boast a long history and ancient civilizations. Despite being thousands of miles apart, we share similar values and a rich cultural heritage, advocating for equal exchanges and mutual learning, while respecting the diversity of civilizations.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, China-Saudi Arabia ties have maintained rapid development, while cooperation in various fields has continued to deepen and expand with fruitful results. China-Saudi Arabia relations have become a model of mutual respect and equal exchanges between different countries and civilizations. China is willing to work with Saudi Arabia to enhance inter-civilizational exchanges from multiple dimensions to promote harmony, inclusiveness and respect for differences.

By exploring paths to modernization that align with national conditions through continuous efforts, we aim to add positive energy to world peace, stability and sustainable development. Together, we will build a beautiful and harmonious garden of civilizations.

• Chang Hua is China’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia. X: @AmbChangHua

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