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Minister stresses importance of culture at Chinese conference on Asian civilisations

Culture plays an important role in the process of socio-economic development and is fundamental to establishing and maintaining lasting friendly relationships, a Lao minister told a conference in Beijing last week.
Speaking at the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations in the Chinese capital, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Prof. Dr Bosengkham Vongdara stressed the significance of culture for successful development.
“The development of communities cannot be a success if one neglects one’s own valuable culture,” he said.
“Culture is the fundamental basis for establishing and maintaining a lasting friendly relationship.”

The conference, themed “Mutual Exchanges of Asian Civilisation and a Community of Shared Future for Mankind”, was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia in 2015.
Prof. Dr Bosengkham said culture is a meaningful part of day-to-day living and cannot be separated from human life. Today, as culture is related to economic opportunities, the cultural sector is playing a greater role in the sustainable socio-economic development of all countries.
Since its establishment in 1975, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic – which is home to 50 different ethnic groups – has been aware of the fact that culture is the cornerstone of the survival of Laos and is considered to be a driving force and target for social development, he added.
“Based on this consciousness, the Lao government holds cultural affairs in high esteem, and regularly formulates policies and strategies to preserve, promote and develop our national culture,” he told conference participants.
The ultimate objectives are to bring prosperity to Laos, raise the standard of living for all, provide communities with security, justice and harmony, preserve time-honoured traditions, and to nurture national identity.
Parallel objectives include graduating from Least Developed Country status, alleviating poverty, and participating in the cultural development of Asia by preserving the continent’s spirit and identity.
Culture also serves as an important instrument to promote people-to-people connectivity between countries, contributing strongly to better understanding and fostering closer relationships among peoples across the world, the minister said.
In his keynote address, Chinese President Xi Jinping said all countries should uphold equality and respect and abandon pride and prejudice to promote dialogue and harmonious coexistence among different civilisations, according to the China Daily.
There are only different civilisations - there are no superior or inferior civilisations, the Chinese leader said, adding that those who think their race or culture is better, and try to change or replace other cultures, are wrong in their mindset and are doomed to fail.
The conference was attended by representatives from 47 Asian and other invited countries, according to the China Daily.
During his visit to China, Prof. Dr Bosengkham also addressed the Asian Culture and Tourism Exhibition in Beijing.
In his keynote address, the minister stressed the important role that tourism plays in driving socio-economic development.
He said the Lao government had prioritised tourism as a major economic sector in the national socio-economic strategic plan by focusing on cultural, historical and nature-based tourism in order to attract foreigners, including from China, to visit Laos.
He told the event that the Lao and Chinese governments had jointly launched Visit Laos-China Year 2019 with various promotions aimed at increasing the number of visitors to each country.

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update May 20, 2019)

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