Advancing dialogue among civilizations, China contributes to global peace

A file photo of United Nations headquarters in New York City. /CFP

A file photo of United Nations headquarters in New York City. /CFP

The 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on June 7 unanimously adopted a resolution proposed by China to establish an International Day for Dialogue among Civilizations.

The resolution, which designates June 10 as International Day for Dialogue among Civilizations, calls for “equal dialogue and mutual respect” among different civilizations, fully reflecting the core essence of the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI).

Leveraging importance of civilizational dialogue

Fu Cong, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, introduced the draft resolution at the UNGA plenary session, stating that China’s proposal is to fully leverage the importance of civilizational dialogue in “eliminating discrimination and prejudice, enhancing understanding and trust, promoting people-to-people connectivity, and strengthening solidarity and cooperation.”

It demonstrates “China’s firm support for multilateralism” and the work of the United Nations, highlighting China’s responsibility as a major country in a century of unprecedented changes, said the envoy.

In an exclusive interview with CGTN, Fu further explained that “if you look around the world, you see a lot of disputes, a lot of conflicts or even wars. And also, there is a surge of intolerance, extremism and also populism. All these can find their roots in the differences or the lack of understanding among cultures and religions.”

Stressing China champions dialogue between civilizations, Fu noted “in our view, the angle of the civilization is a very potent angle that can promote mutual understanding. China is not the first one to propose it. But again, at the critical juncture, we do believe that it is important that the world focuses or refocuses its attention on this crucial issue.”

Guiding the world toward peace

In a press interview after the adoption of the resolution, Fu stressed that the broad support for the establishment of International Day for Dialogue among Civilizations fully demonstrates that the GCI is in line with the trend and needs of the times.

The GCI was put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Communist Party of China in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting in March 2023.

The initiative, as Xi pointed out in his speech, advocates respect for the diversity of civilizations, the common values of humanity, the importance of inheritance and innovation of civilizations, as well as robust international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation.

In contrast to the Western claims of “superiority of certain civilizations and clash of civilizations,” China has called for upholding the principles of equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness among civilizations.

Noting modernity carries inherent tensions, Ni Feng, director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in a commentary for CGTN that as nations develop economically, politically and socially, they inevitably seek to develop their cultures and the powerful internal forces of different civilizations strive to “break away from the singular and exclusive binary narrative that centers on Western superiority.”

“Modernity today is not only pluralist but also diverse. This multiplicity makes it a common need for the progress of civilization to transcend West-dominated cultural barriers and engage in equal and mutually respectful civilizational exchanges,” said Ning, adding strengthening dialogue on an equal basis enhances mutual understanding and tolerance, thereby guiding the world toward peace.

China’s practices on GCI

The GCI has been included in joint statements, press communiques or declarations between China and countries including Russia, Serbia, Hungary, Zambia and the Maldives, as well as in regional mechanisms such as the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation.

By committing to the initiative, which underlines solving differences and disputes by dialogues with mutual respect and understanding, China has called for joint efforts to maintain world peace and stability.

In March last year, the Saudi Arabia-Iran dialogue in Beijing was a successful case of the practice of the GCI, leading to the resumption of diplomatic ties between the two countries.