The WLA - Club de Madrid Members were welcomed in the Great Hall of the People and engaged with President Xi Jiping in a vivid and fruitful exchange of views about how the different regions of the world should interact with China and vice-versa in the pursuit of a future that leaves no one behind.
President Xi Jinping stressed that Chinese diplomacy will aim to promote a different style of international relations and a community of shared future for mankind; a vision that according to Xi will unite people around the world. In this sense, President Xi noted that China's long-term peace and prosperity is a great contribution to building such a community and that his country will stick to its basic national policy of opening-up and be participating in global governance.
WLA-Club de Madrid President Vaira Vike-Freiberga thanked President Xi the opportunity of having a direct exchange on such a timely issue. Members addressed the need for strengthening the relations between China and the rest of world, especially now that President Trump's foreign policy has created a vacuum in many areas of international relations, including trading and climate change. In this regard, President of Italy, Romano Prodi, said that "China needs to invest more in Europe and, together, elaborate a shared strategy that includes support for African development".
President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo added that from the beginning of the 21st Century his continent's progress "has, to a great extent, been due to China's investment and growing trade. Africa must now address the challenges of education, housing, employment, health and wellbeing for a growing population that will be over 2 billion people by 2050. As China embarks on a "new era" of prosperity and the objective of shared prosperity outlined in the 19th Party Congress becomes particularly important in China-Africa relations".
The newest WLA-Club de Madrid Member, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, brought the Asian perspective to the conversation focusing particularly on the issue of peace and security in the Korean Peninsula. Mr Ban noted that "China's willingness to engage in finding a peaceful resolution to DPKR's defiance and to pursue enforcement of UNSCR resolution is most significant". "Because of its relationship with DPKR, China is called to play a decisive role in this conflict", he added.
Ricardo Lagos, President of Chile and former WLA-Club de Madrid President, took the floor to insist on the climate change perspective, an angle that was also underlined by Ban Ki-moon. According to the Latin American leader, "we all have to undertake 'Operation Truth' and raise awareness on the fact that Climate Change is a threat we must all tackle. China's leadership is extremely important in this front".
The World Leadership Alliance - Club de Madrid delegation that participated in this meeting with President Xi Jiping was made up by the following former Presidents and Prime Ministers: Vaira Vike-Freiberga (Latvia), Cassam Uteem (Mauritius), Felipe Calderón (Mexico), Ricardo Lagos (Chile), Hang Seung-soo (Korea), Wim Kok (The Netherlands), Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Ochirbat (Mongolia), Roza Otunbayeva (Kyrgyz Republic), George Papandreu (Greece), Andrés Pastrana (Colombia), Petre Roman (Romania), Jennifer Mary Shipley (New Zealand) Danilo Turk (Slovenia) Convention Center in Conghua, Guangzhou, serves as an important platform for people-to-people diplomacy and international exchange.
Co-hosted by the World Leadership Alliance - Club de Madrid, the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the Australia China Friendship and Exchange Association, the Imperial Springs International Forum aims to enhance understanding and expand consensus among parties through discussions on important topics in the economy, politics and culture, thereby facilitating regional and global cooperation.