Dunhuang, China – Luo Shugang, China’s minister of culture has stressed that the key to sound relations between states lies in their respective people’s closeness to each other based on mutual understanding.
Minister Shugang was emphasizing the essence of culture as a means of promoting the One Belt One Road Initiative, which holistically underscores “openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and shared economic prosperity” amongst developing nations.
“It has been our top priority and direction to deepen cultural exchanges and cooperation between the countries along the Silk Road, effectively promote people-to-people bonds, and enhance the mutual understanding and trust among these countries,” he said at the 2nd Silk Road International Cultural Expo in Dunhuang City, western China.
The New Silk Road rebranded Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) reinvigorates the concept of the ancient Silk Road connecting Asia, Europe and Africa.
The new concept puts win-win cooperation at the core focusing on the development priorities of countries and regions.
However, China is optimistic about luring more developing countries to forge mutual cooperation through trade and people-to-people exchanges amongst others issues.
This year’s cultural expo was held on the September 20 under the theme: Strengthening the cultural Exchanges and Deepening Cultural Pragmatic Cooperation.
It brought together 124 delegates from 51 countries and three international organizations. Hundreds of journalists from across the world were also in attendance.
The event also featured activities including exhibition, performance, innovation, trade and tourism with participants discussing plans of cultural exchange and cooperation under the BRI.
“In today’s world where peace, cooperation and development remains the theme of this great era, although different countries may be materially different in social system, history and culture, and value are the spirit of the Silk Road,” Shugang added.
“The ancient spirit of the Silk Road shows us that we can learn from each other and seek mutual development through dialogue and communication of different civilization and different development patterns.”
China’s BRI is amassing positive reactions with some experts labeling it as the ‘most ambitious’ initiative of the century because it promotes mutual economic cooperation amongst several developing countries for “win-win benefit”.
Many attending the event in ancient city of Dunhuang said culture can play a pivotal role in rejuvenating the Silk Road, which in ancient times, helped connect several countries through trade and cultural exchange across Asia and Europe and to Africa.
“Culture is at the beginning and at the end of everything,” said Assoumana Malam Issa, minister of culture of the Republic of Niger.
“It is the foundation on which all development that is hoped for is based. In Niger, we have been nurtured by such convictions and we have perfectly assimilated it.”
Mr. Issa’s remarks at the gathering signified the important role Africa can play in the implementation the BRI based on the continent’s diverse culture and economic potential.
Koniordou Lydia, minister of culture of the Hellenic Republic of Greece, recalled the historic cultural ties between her country and China and said the two countries have “discovered each other and work jointly”.
“The relations between peoples may be based on economy, trade and investment.
The significance of the One Belt One Road initiative for the development not only of entrepreneurial but also of personal relations is very important,” she said, adding that Greece intends to be an active partner of the long term international collaboration on several fields.
The chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) said it has organized almost 500 enterprises from more than 20 BRI countries as part of the BRI.
Jiang Zengwei said combining globalization of productivity for the service market of cultural industry across borders is important to make foreign trade more competitive.
“Cultural goods and services have become an important part of international trade. China is now expanding the size and gradually optimizing the structure of foreign cultural trade, which has become a new highlight in our foreign trade,” Zengwei said.