Gathering aims to strengthen mutual understanding among Asian cultures
President Xi Jinping will deliver the keynote speech at the opening of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, which will be held next week in Beijing to further promote exchanges and mutual understanding, a senior official said on Thursday.
More than 2,000 officials and representatives of various circles from 47 Asian countries and countries outside the region will attend the opening and related forums, said Xu Lin, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and head of the State Council Information Office.
Under the theme of "exchanges and mutual learning among Asian civilizations and a community with a shared future", the conference, opening on Wednesday, will have an opening ceremony, thematic forums, an Asian Culture Carnival and an Asian Civilization Week, said Xu, who is also vice-president of the event's executive committee.
The conference is expected to achieve rich and concrete results, such as a series of bilateral and multilateral initiatives and agreements, and the results of projects and research will be announced during the event, Xu said at a news conference.
"The conference is another major diplomatic event hosted by China this year, following the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 Beijing," he said.
Xi proposed such a conference twice — at the fourth summit meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Shanghai in 2014 and the annual Boao Forum for Asia in 2015.
The conference would help advance the development of human civilization and contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, Xu said. He also stressed that holding such a conference was not aimed at promoting confrontation among civilizations, but to boost exchanges and common understanding.
"We've noticed some opinions recently that hype the confrontation or even clash between Eastern and Western civilizations," he said. "If it's because of misunderstanding, that highlights the significance and value of such a dialogue of civilizations. If it's to deliberately provoke friction and confrontation, that is unpopular and is doomed to fail."
Ning Qiang, a professor at the school of history at Capital Normal University in Beijing, said that Asian civilization once made great contributions to human civilization and is expected to make greater contributions in the future. Countries in Asia should work together to safeguard cultural diversity and meanwhile avoid misunderstanding or distrust via dialogue, he said.
During the event, the grand Asian Culture Carnival is expected to gather around 30,000 people from home and abroad. The Asian Civilization Week will feature parades, cultural performances, a culture and tourism exhibition, a film week, and a joint exhibition of Asian cultures, while an Asian Food Festival will be held in four cities — Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Chengdu.
So far, more than 2,800 Chinese and foreign journalists have signed up to cover the conference. Beijing has recruited more than 3,700 volunteers for the event, according to the organizer.