By Xiao Wu, video by Deng Zhang, iChongqing news.
Chongqing - On June 3, during the subforum of the Belt and Road Forum for Interconnected Land-Sea Development, twenty experts from China, Cambodia, Tajikistan, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Laos, Indonesia, Serbia, the Philippines, and South Korea spoke on the topic of Role of People-to-People Connectivity in Interconnected Land- Sea Development: Towards Closer People-To-People Friendship.
According to Mr. Bakhtiyor Kholikov, Head of Department of Foreign Policy, Center of Strategic Research under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Tajikistan was one of the first countries to support China's Belt and Road initiative. China attaches great importance to the development of transportation and infrastructure. Participating in Belt and Road brings Tajikistan opportunities. The cooperation with central Asia, China, and Russia help Tajikistan to step into the market of Southeast Asia and Europe and brings peace and stability to Tajikistan.
He also pointed out that there are many joint development projects between China and Tajikistan, which can bring practical benefits to the people on both sides. China and Tajikistan need to take into account the common interests of the people. "We are interested in accelerating this development process and ensuring lasting peace and stability," said Mr. Kholikov, "as a prerequisite for sustainable economic and social development."
Mr. Kholikov indicated that the Belt and Road initiative promotes peace and cultural exchange among countries. Tajik was once the universal language of the silk road. "We used to make a great contribution to the communication in the fields such as trade and culture among different nations," he said.
Bernardo Mendia, Vice President of Federation Sino-PLPE, believes that peace among countries, economic growth and prosperity cannot be achieved without the connectivity and cooperation among national leaders and peoples. A country alone cannot ensure peace and financial stability. "This is an era of solidarity and inclusiveness," he said, "and the new order can only be achieved through the joint efforts of all countries."
In 1978, Portugal and China applied sports to diplomatic, cultural, and people-to-people exchanges. The two countries organized a trip for the economic club of Lisbon to China. Portugal's government sent a letter to Chinese government expressing the wish to normalize the bilateral relations. The letter got transferred to China through Macau and paved the way for setting up the embassy in Beijing. "This is a huge success achieved through the soft power of sports," said Mr. Mendia. "Today, I propose the establishment of Belt and Road sports association to make full use of and enhance the soft power of sports to serve the international community. The purpose is to encourage and support friendly cooperation between people and countries through sports."
Mr. Xu Liping, the director of Center for South East Asian Studies, National Institute of International Strategic Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, explained his insight into the people-to-people connectivity. "As an Indonesian proverb goes," said Mr. Xu, "people can't love without knowing each other." He continued, "to promote mutual understanding between our peoples. First, we must respect each other's customs and culture. Secondly, we should treat each other as equals and learn from each other." He also indicated that at the same time, it is essential to guide people with correct public opinions. Get people's trust through the practical benefits brought by the Belt and Road cooperation projects. Developing people-to-people connectivity is a long process. To promote connectivity among people, we should make full use of various means of people-to-people exchanges.
"I am from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, one of the largest think tanks in the world. Based on my research experience of countries along the Belt and Road and my personal experience, I put forward an initiative: I hope to establish Belt and Road think tank cooperative research fund at the national level. Although currently, we have cooperative research, but not systematic and institutionalized," said Mr. Xu. According to him, if the Belt and Road think tank research fund is available, it can integrate collaborative researches from different think tanks. It can help to implement relevant policies of Belt and Road and effectively promote people-to-people connectivity.
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