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WPF:Development, cooperation, cultural exchange key to global security

Author  :  Mao Li, Hou Li     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2017-07-11

Weighing in on global security governance and the building of regional security mechanisms, attendees to the recent sixth World Peace Forum (WPF) concurred that development, cooperation and cultural exchange will guarantee and promote international security.

Held from June 24 to 25 in Beijing under the theme of “Challenges to International Security: Joint Efforts, Responsibility and Reform,” the forum was organized by Tsinghua University in collaboration with the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs. Approximately 450 representatives from all over the world offered advice on ways to promote world peace from multiple perspectives.

Stressing that development is the solution to all problems, Sathirathai Surakiat, former deputy prime minister of Thailand, said that security is the foundation for prosperity, and development is the guarantee of security.

For a long time, economic globalization has boosted global growth, yet the current backlash against globalization has impeded development, Surakiat said, adding that if the anti-globalization trend continues, the resulting negative impacts will extend from the economic realm to other spheres, affecting international security.

Economic globalization is a salient feature of the 21st century, said Igor Ivanov, former secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. Despite emerging hostility to globalization in many countries, economic globalization is irreversible judging from historical trends, Ivanov said.

History has shown that a country must strive to integrate into the world economy if it wants to achieve modernization. Noting that the wealth gap between different countries and regions has widened in the past two decades, Ivanov said that uneven development is one of the important factors fueling global instability.

“Nonetheless, we shouldn’t oppose economic globalization because of risks. Instead, we should make efforts to dissipate its negative impacts,” Ivanov said. The new type of globalization should be inclusive and constructive, he said.

Seeking security through cooperation is another agreement reached at the forum, since the interests of various countries are more closely interrelated than ever before. International cooperation was frequently mentioned in discussions on how to combat terrorism.

According to statistics from the University of Maryland, annual terrorist attacks from 2012 to 2015 increased more than eight times compared with the period from 2001 to 2004, with annual deaths up more than four times. The phenomenon of “the more we fight, the worse terrorism becomes” highlights the limitations of international anti-terrorist cooperation, and all countries need to improve global governance against terrorism.

The forum also called for cultural exchanges to promote security. Former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan Riaz Khokhar said that the hegemony of Western culture is a crucial root cause for international terrorism, because it has suppressed the traditional culture of some countries and nations while hurting their national pride.

Pointing out the need to respect different civilizations, beliefs and educational systems, Khokhar issued a call for different cultures to intensify equal communication and dialogue, thereby clearing up misunderstandings, strengthening mutual trust and building a harmonious, peaceful environment.

Not merely an initiative for international economic cooperation, the “B&R” initiative also contains rich cultural connotations, said Tsu Koon Koh, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department of Malaysia. Connecting the Chinese, Indian, Islamic and Western civilizations, the initiative is a bond of diversified world civilizations.

Koh made the appeal that countries across the world should uphold the Silk Road Spirit featuring peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning, mutual benefits and win-win results, in order to build the initiative into a path for diverse civilizations, and advance peace and stability in regions along the route.

Editor: Yu Hui

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