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Experts prescribe public diplomacy for a closer world

Friday,Nov 29, 2019

Public diplomacy is the need of the hour and should be encouraged to promote greater people-to-people exchanges, Foreign Policy Advisory Group member and China’s former ambassador to Britain Ma Zhengang said at the 2019 China Public Diplomacy Forum in Beijing on Nov 27.

This is particularly important in an era when international conflicts are becoming more often and acute, he said. Ma attributed the current complex diplomatic situation to transitions in the international order and asked for measures to tide over unprecedented scenarios. More than 20 experts from the fields of diplomacy, the media, academics and publicity attended the forum.

The idea of public diplomacy was first introduced to China about a decade ago. It remains a new concept, but has drawn greater attention in recent years as China tries to open-up on all fronts before the world, making greater understanding with the rest of the world crucial.

Shi Mingde, whose six-year stint as China’s ambassador to Germany ended in February, recalled how the German people looked confused whenever he referred to China as a developing country in his speeches. Shi said direct communication with the people living in other countries will reduce misunderstandings and prejudice, narrow cognitive gaps and lay a solid foundation for transnational relationship as well as peace and stability in a changing world.

Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization(CCG), stressed that as China is a key advocate of globalization, it is important to include the element of public diplomacy in promoting multilateralism. For example, he said, China has undertaken cooperation efforts under the Belt and Road Initiative framework, but more work is needed to tell people why the initiative will bring about opportunities and win-win outcomes.

Other experts said the media and think tanks should play a greater role in this regard. They could use new media and emerging technologies to provide the young people platforms for frank exchanges.

The forum is organized jointly by the National Academy of Development and Strategy at Renmin University of China and the China Internet News Center.

From China Daily,2019-11-29
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