Speech by Zhang Fan

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, February 9, 2015

Zhang Fan,  President of Fujian Academy of Social Sciences, delivers a  speech at the opening ceremony of the International Seminar on the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, on Feb. 11, 2015. [Photo:China.org.cn]

The following is the full text of Zhang Fan's speech titled "Building a Common Destiny, Building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road."

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends:

As the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year draws near, we are delighted to hold this international seminar entitled "Building a Common Destiny, Building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road" in Quanzhou, an ancient and picturesque "City of East Asian Culture." On behalf of the organizer of this seminar, the Fujian Academy of Social Sciences, I would like to warmly welcome the leaders and distinguished guests who have come from afar to attend this important forum, and sincerely thank the experts and scholars who are taking part.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives presented by Chinese President Xi Jinping are aimed at inheriting and carrying forward the spirit of the ancient Silk Road – openness and inclusiveness, peace and friendship, cooperation and mutual benefits. This all-encompassing vision is a milestone on the road of peaceful development and win-win cooperation that will boost the development of many countries and regions and will breathe new life into the Silk Road of old.

Through this international seminar, we hope to give participating experts and scholars a platform for in-depth academic exchanges to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation, and build a community of common destiny, interests and responsibilities founded on mutual political trust, economic integration and cultural tolerance.

During the Qin (221–206 BC) and Han (206 BC–220 AD) dynasties, the ancient Silk Road played a vital role in promoting all kinds of exchanges between the East and the West. Linking ports in various countries into an international trade network, it improved people's living conditions, enriched local cultures, and encouraged multicultural development along the route. The Maritime Silk Road is a road of peaceful development and win-win cooperation.

Over time, the ancient Silk Road faded into history. But the concepts of harmonious coexistence and mutual benefits that the road epitomized have been widely accepted by people living along the route and have, therefore, remained alive. We consider it the collective responsibility of experts and scholars around the world to promote the history and spirit of the ancient Silk Road and launch multifaceted, theoretical research to develop the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. This is both challenging and appealing. In my opinion, research in this field has the following distinct features:

First, a space-time view. The Maritime Silk Road has a history dating back thousands of years. All nations along the road have made significant contributions to its development. Taking a space-time view means we should focus on research into its core cultural values, the historical exchanges between countries en route, trans-cultural cooperation in diversified fields, and trends in the modern era to jointly build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Drawing lessons from the past, we shall establish a multi-dimensional regional cooperation mechanism with accordant concepts to explore inclusive and harmonious development opportunities for all countries along the route.

Second, diversity. The construction of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is a trans-regional and interdisciplinary task, covering a number of fields such as infrastructure, economic and trade cooperation, and cultural and educational exchanges, therefore, governments are required to play a leading and dominant role. Meanwhile, research needs to be carried out from many angles, including politics, history and sociology, to assimilate the findings and wisdom of experts of all these subjects and find the appropriate development route of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which will reflect their common interests, increase the understanding of one another and expand their cooperation channels. The new initiative, by complementing each other's strengths and seeking all-win development, will benefit all people living along the route.

Third, openness. The construction of the route covers a large number of countries and regions, which have different resources, geographical advantages and interests. In promoting cultural communication, connecting think tanks, and non-governmental organizations, it is imperative to build a platform for dialogue on the principles of openness, interaction and mutual benefits, with the purpose of speeding up further reform and opening-up, and actively constructing new, multilateral friendship relations, making the most use of resources and markets, interactivity and common interests.

Fourth, inclusiveness. Celebrating the diversity of the world's civilizations opens a new path for peaceful development worldwide. During his visit to Europe, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the concept of civilization exchanges and mutual learning, which offers a significant guideline for our research project. Countries along the road have different political and economic systems, economic development levels, histories and faiths. By learning from each other we can propel innovation across various civilizations and build it into a key link to facilitate mutual benefit and win-win results.

Fifth, mutual advantages. Collective memory and emotional bonds are significant factors in achieving our mutually beneficial goals. Research surrounding the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road should aim at cooperation and mutual benefits; communication at both government and public level shall be enhanced to reflect the development requirement of countries along the route. Regional development policies shall be drafted together aimed at boosting infrastructure constructions and encouraging pragmatic cooperation of competitive industries of countries involved. Only in this way, can we create the optimum conditions for deepening mutual understanding, economic cooperation and cultural exchanges.

Distinguished guests, experts and friends, we are enlightened by the spirit of the Maritime Silk Road and are called here by an academic mission. Let us join hands to carry forward the inclusive, friendly and cooperative spirit of the road, to reach a consensus for our common development for the interests of us all, and to contribute our wisdom and collective strength to realize our common prosperity and development.

I wish the seminar a complete success.

Thank you!

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter