April 04, 2020
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    Promoting civilizational links to check forces of suppressors

    May 17, 2019

    Sustainable relationship between countries of different civilizations depends on understanding between each other's lifestyle and religion, among others. This was the unanimous conclusion reached at the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations (CDAC), which began on May 15. The view of the experts was that “it is a good thing that such a conference on Asian civilizations is held as it has provided a platform for exchanges and mutual learning among Asian civilizations and to build a community with a shared future.”
    Opening the Conference, Chinese President Xi Jinping summarized the essence of Chinese civilization. He emphasized that seeking goodwill with neighbours and harmony with all nations is the Chinese way of engaging with the world. “The distinctive value of Chinese civilisation is to ensure benefits to the people and provide them with stability and prosperity. The spirit of Chinese civilization is to keep with reforms and innovations and advance with the times. The philosophy of existence for Chinese civilization is to follow the rules of nature and uniting human beings and the universe,” he said.
    Noting that the world faces many problems such as climate change, Sunait Chutintaranond, a history professor of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok stressed the importance of the young people's role in inheriting civilizations. “Any policy to teach youths to realize the values of their own culture may come first so that they could adopt and adapt themselves properly.” The CDAC, attended by more than 2,000 delegates from 47 Asian countries, discussed various topics including tourism, culture, people-to-people exchanges and sharing of governance experience.
    Civilizations and cultures
    President Maithripala Sirisena, who addressed the Conference during the first session, underlined the need of “an International Programme to ensure our identity, nationality, and the dignity of all of us by strengthening the bonds among us. I believe that it is very important to formulate such a programme by this gathering of Asian Countries.” The civilizations and cultures of different nationalities will move forward surpassing the political differences and economic fluctuations emerging in the world, he said expressing the belief that the civilization and culture of a country cannot be suppressed by laws, constitutions or international proclamations.
    While the main attributes of our civilizations and cultures are taking place, we could see at a discussion forum like this, the need of an International Programme to ensure our identity, nationality, and the dignity of all of us by strengthening the bonds among us, the President said. He called for a common programme by the partners of the Dialogue on Asian Civilizations, led by China. “I believe that it is important to work cooperatively among the nations while facing the terrorism which has been sprung by international terrorism, and religious extremism, in order to live in a peaceful and democratic society, while protecting the identity and dignity of peaceful countries,” President Sirisena urged the Asian leaders.
    The President utilized this international gathering to focus the world attention on recent violent incidents in Sri Lanka. “As the leader of Sri Lanka, I participate in the Conference on the dialogue of Asian civilizations to raise the question whether the Sri Lankan civilization and Sri Lankan identity could be suppressed by another invisible civilization. My country lives in freedom and peace, without posing any threat to any nation, culture or civilization. However, on April 21, extremist terrorist bomb attacks killed a large number of people and we are still in fear and horror and especially in uncertainty over this unexpected situation.”
    Although Sri Lanka is a small country, it has a unique, proud identity and a long history lasting more than 5,000 years. Sri Lankan civilization has been built, based on unique Buddhist civilization lasting 2,600 years. This is an occasion that the principle that Buddhism is not merely a religion, but a philosophy, has been accepted. In Sri Lanka, different communities, Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Malays and Burghers live and Buddhism, Hindu, Islam and Christian religions and philosophies practised. President Sirisena pointed out that the human civilization, particularly the Buddhist civilization, primarily contains the philosophy required for human progress and development as well as for spiritual development. Referring to the terror attacks by an unknown enemy, he said that when an unknown force, which is not visible to us, poses a challenge to our civilization or culture, we should join hands to meet this challenge. Everybody should consider whether our unique cultures and civilizations in diverse global philosophies could allow to be destroyed, he questioned. He called on Beijing to give leadership and stated that it is very important the guidance and example provided by a country like China with a great civilization at this important conference. “I must mention that in order to strengthen the unity, alliance and the friendship between the nations it is essential to recognize the unique civilizations and the cultures of other nations.”
    Asian countries
    The President said it is very important that we as Asian countries strengthen our bonds. “I could see a strong bond between the civilizations and cultures of the Asian countries and often they share similarities. Therefore, I believe it is very important to strengthen this bond, the unity and the harmony among the Asian countries through recognizing their civilizations and cultures. I see the imperative need to defeat the terrorist groups and religious extremism and all the nations live in friendship and peace.” When President Sirisena held talks with the Chinese President Xi Jinping on the eve the Conference, China promised all possible assistance to Sri Lanka in its efforts to strengthen national security and to wipe out the scourge of terrorism.
    President Xi Jinping, while condemning the Easter Sunday attacks, said that he is against any form of terrorism in any part of the world. He also said the Chinese government has taken steps to provide a grant of Rs 2,600 million for Security Forces during this emergency situation. China also agreed to immediately release 100 jeeps and other equipment costing Rs. 1,500 million to the Sri Lanka Police Department. The discussion between President Sirisena and President Xi also focused on strengthening cooperation in the defence sector and sharing intelligence between the two countries. The two governments also signed an agreement promoting closer cooperation in the field of defence following the bilateral discussion between the two leaders.
    President Sirisena said that the country does not have sufficient technological expertise and equipment to trace the individuals who are fanning the flames of terrorism by propagating false information through social media. The Chinese President agreed to provide the necessary technological expertise and equipment immediately. He also informed President Sirisena that a Chinese technical team will be sent soon to look into the matter. Both leaders also discussed the progress of development projects being implemented in the country with Chinese financial assistance.


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