DUNHUAN, CHINA – The 3rd Silk Road International Cultural Conference kicked off yesterday in China’s Gansu province.
The conference, entitled “Showcase the Beauty of the Silk Road”, aims to promote cultural exchanges and sustainable development among countries involved in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The two-day event in the city of Dunhuang is being attended by more than 1,300 world leaders, diplomats and other dignitaries from nearly 100 countries and international organisations.
Sun Chunlan, a Communist Party of China’s Political Central Committee Bureau member, said the conference was a profound event.
Ms Sun said the ancient Silk Road was a trading hub connecting China to the rest of the world.
“The ancient Silk Road was created and shared around the world,” she said.
First established in 2016, the conference has been attended by various countries and hundreds of international organisations.
Achievements include the signing of the Dunhuang Declaration and agreements to hold dialogue between countries, protect history and heritage, and facilitate trade and tourism.
“China will deepen cooperation, strengthen ties, expand exchanges between peoples and think-tanks,” Ms Sun said. “We will enhance understanding, friendship and consider all feelings from people of all countries.”
She noted that this year’s conference highlighted five years of President Xi Jinping’s BRI. Ms Sun said the initiative aims to increase global economic ties.
“Over the past five years, the Belt and Road Initiative has changed from concept into action, from vision into reality,” she said. “More than 100 countries and international organisations have actively supported it.”
Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, Unesco’s assistant director-general for culture, said the BRI has the ability to tap into the enormous potential of the creative economy.
“The goal is to transform the Silk Road, through sustainable tourism, into a magnet for sustainable economic growth and job creation,” Mr Ramirez said. “This will include supporting the transmission of the rich intangible cultural heritage found along the Silk Road.”
He added that Unesco has created an online platform aiming to help BRI countries exchange ideas and culture in the digital realm.
“For over 15 years, Unesco has supported the efforts of member countries along the Silk Roads,” Mr Ramirez said.