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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the Foreign Ministers Meeting of the Ancient Civilizations Forum

2023-09-22 18:00

Your Excellency Mr. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Dear Colleagues,

China welcomes Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian presiding over today's meeting. And we thank Iran for the preparation of this


The world today is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. Various risks and challenges, intertwined with one another, are leading to mounting instability and uncertainties. In this context, we should not only pursue scientific innovation, so as to overcome the difficulties by material means, but more importantly. we should learn from one another, and forge ahead with the spiritual power of solidarity. As we represent major original civilizations around the world, we need to bring into full play our respective strengths and respond to the call of our times, so as to promote the progress of civilizations through exchanges and mutual learning and offer our intellectual guidance for addressing common challenges. For that, China wishes to make the following proposals.

First, we must respect the diversity of civilizations. Such diversity is an integral feature of our world. There is no better or worse civilizations. Every civilization is special and unique to its own region. No civilization should deem itself superior, still less impose it upon others. We should embrace the values of different civilizations with an open mind, and view the exploration of path by different civilizations on an equal footing. We should resolutely reject notions such as superiority of certain civilizations or clash of civilizations.

Second, we must strive to provide intellectual support. The vitality of the brilliant civilizations created by our ancestors transcends time and space. The Chinese civilization values harmony between human and Nature, solidarity among countries, and unity without uniformity among communities. These values are highly relevant in dealing with the global challenges we face today. I know for our dear friends here, the civilizations you represent also share those similar wisdoms. It is important that we draw strength from our traditional culture, enrich it in the new era, and turn it into a powerful tool for us to together overcome today's challenges.

Third, we must protect cultural heritages. The protection of cultural heritages is one of the key cooperation fields of this Forum. All of us are from countries with rich cultural heritages. All of our countries were also victims of robbery and plundering by external forces in the past, and are facing the threat of smuggling and trafficking at present. We must redouble our efforts in a global campaign against the smuggling and trafficking of antiques, create conditions for the return of cultural properties, and step up exchanges and cooperation on the restoration of cultural heritages, so as to jointly safeguard the legacy left to us by our ancestors and the crystalization of our civilizations.

Fourth, we must promote practical cooperation. The Forum has held multiple Foreign Ministers' Meetings on the sidelines of the UNGA high-level week. The UN should become a key platform for Forum cooperation. China suggests the Forum establishing a regular cooperation mechanism on the UN platform, strengthening communication and coordination with the UN Alliance of Civilizations and UNESCO, and conducting various forms of cooperation on issues related to peace and culture. In doing so, we will together usher in a new prosect for exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations and further improve the influence of the Ancient Civilizations Forum.

Mr. President,

Bearing in mind the overall trend of human civilizations, Chinese President Xi Jimping put forward the Global Civilization Initiative, expressing to the world China's sincere wishes to promote exchanges and mutual learning among world civilizations for the progress of humanity. The Initiative is highly compatible with the tenet and mission of the Ancient Civilizations Forum. As a co-initiator of the Forum, China will work with all member states to strengthen the institutional building of the Forum and further advance practical cooperation. Together, we can revitalize our ancient civilizations and inject the much-needed stability and positivity to today's complex international landscape.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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