By Luo Aihua, Zhang Penghui, Gong Ming, Jiang Xiaodan, People’s Daily

The 2023 Imperial Springs International Forum was held in Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong province from Dec. 3 to 5.

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the event, stressing that facing unprecedented changes in the world, the times, and history, the human society must unite, uphold mutual learning, openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, advocate common values of humanity, and jointly build a better world.

The 2023 Imperial Springs International Forum, themed “Multilateralism: More Exchanges, Greater Inclusiveness and Cooperation,” was jointly held by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the Australia China Friendship and Exchange Association, the Guangdong provincial government, and the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid.

More than 130 guests from political, academic, and business circles in over 40 countries gathered at the forum, where they had in-depth exchanges on topics such as the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, economic recovery and global cooperation, and the realization of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

They called on all parties to strengthen solidarity and cooperation, practice true multilateralism, and further improve global governance, to jointly create a better future. A declaration was released at the forum.

The world has entered a new period of turbulence and change. The momentum of world economic growth is sluggish. Destabilizing, uncertain and unpredictable factors are increasing.

Guests attending the forum believe that in the face of the global economic setback, it is crucial for all parties to jointly resist the trend of anti-globalization, oppose “decoupling and severing industrial and supply chains,” and promote the building of an open world economy.

The world needs competition, but it more needs cooperation, said former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, adding that economic development is not a zero-sum game, as all countries can benefit from global economic growth.

He emphasized that humankind, by living in the same global village, needs to pay more attention to addressing inequality and promoting inclusive growth.

China’s development achievements have had a positive impact on various regions of the world, including Europe, said Esko Aho, former Prime Minister of Finland, who has long been observing China’s economic development.

China has created a remarkable development miracle, which once again proves that adhering to open development is the key to fully utilizing resources and seizing development opportunities, Aho said.

He noted that it is important to further understand that building an open world economy and stimulating global economic vitality is beneficial to all countries.

Zou Ciyong, Deputy to the Director General and Managing Director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, stated that the global economic growth rate is still hovering at a low level, and issues such as geopolitical divisions, climate change, and the widening wealth gap are all affecting the global economic development.

It is necessary for all parties to comprehensively assess the factors affecting global economic growth, promote technological transformation, foster green development, improve global governance, and jointly lead the world economy into a new phase of growth, he stressed.

The only choice to address the problems facing humanity is to uphold and practice true multilateralism, safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core, and promote the establishment of a more effective, inclusive, and fair multilateral cooperation mechanism, said Danilo Turk, president of the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid and former President of Slovenia

Global issues and challenges are intricate and complex, and there are no simple solutions, remarked Kjell Magne Bondevik, former Prime Minister of Norway.

According to Bondevik, major countries must act responsibly, and the meeting between the Chinese and U.S. heads of state in San Francisco has sent a positive signal to the world. The international community does not want to see conflict or confrontation between China and the United States, and the two countries should demonstrate their potential for cooperation, which is beneficial and important for the world.

Besides, all parties need to deepen cooperation at the United Nations and other international organizations, as well as at the regional level, and take more effective actions, Bondevik added.

Siddharth Chatterjee, the UN Development System Resident Coordinator in China, stressed the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. Upholding multilateralism and strengthening solidarity and cooperation is not an optional choice but a necessary one.

Addressing water and air pollution requires cross-border collaboration, and tackling climate change also requires countries to share clean energy technologies and practices, he explained.

Where humanity should be headed is the question of the world, of history and of the times. To answer this, China has proposed the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, the Belt and Road Initiative, the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative.

Guests attending the 2023 Imperial Springs International Forum noted that China adheres to true multilateralism and these new concepts and initiatives contribute Chinese wisdom and strength to deepening practical cooperation, promoting common development, and safeguarding world peace.

Zlatko Lagumdzija, former chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, noted that currently, traditional and non-traditional security challenges are intertwined on a global scale, affecting the well-being of people worldwide. China’s proposal to build a community with a shared future for mankind provides an important insight for the world, he added.

Former secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Vladimir Norov, said that China is committed to solidarity and cooperation and has fulfilled its responsibility as a major country in international affairs, making significant contributions to regional and global peace and development.


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