GUANGZHOU, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- "Many leaders in the world have become national leaders, not global leaders. They have been erecting walls, instead of building bridges among the people."
This is what deeply worries Ban Ki-moon, former secretary-general of the United Nations, who is in his first year of retirement. "Globalization has been slowed down with growing nationalism,"lamented the seasoned diplomat who headed the world body from 2007 to 2016.
But the 73-year-old Ban also sees a silver lining. As the world's second largest economy, China has continued to steadfastly support and actively promote global cooperation, from addressing climate change to seeking common prosperity.
Joining some 20 other former heads of state, governments and international organizations for a high-level forum on global governance in China's southern city of Guangzhou, Ban told Xinhua in an interview that he was "inspired" by the idea of building a community of a shared future for mankind proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which may help reshape global governance and stands against those nationalist and populist arguments.
During the two-day 2017 Imperial Springs International Forum starting from Nov. 28, quite a few speakers expressed similar concerns about the stalled globalization process, as well as strong hopes for China to play a more constructive role in improving global governance.
A transformed global order calls for an innovative governance mechanism, in which China's perspective would be of great significance, said Vaira Vike Freiberga, president of the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid and also former president of Latvia.
China has been playing an increasingly active role in administrating international affairs during recent years, she said.
By sponsoring major development proposals such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), China has contributed its unique wisdom to mankind's pursuit of a better, shared future, several of the former leaders commented.
Proposed by Xi in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes. The initiative embodies Xi's concept of building a community of a shared future for mankind, which connects the "Chinese Dream" with the aspirations of the whole world for peace and development.
"This is a very good way to have inclusive and interconnected dialogue and mutual cooperation within the region," Ban praised the initiative, saying that it will bring countries closer and more connected.
According to former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, the initiative is a "grand vision," as it offers a new way to ease tensions among countries by promoting regional cooperation, and creates a new model for boosting regional prosperity and stability.
Jenny Shipley, former prime minister of New Zealand, said that the initiative is helping all countries on the routes through empowering rather than merely providing financial aid, which could vitalize their markets by infrastructure construction.
She also hailed the "outstanding" vision of Xi, who has clearly stated that the success of the initiative relies on "not just China," but "us all."
Former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said that he sees the initiative as a better opportunity to strengthen cooperation between the European continent, the European Union and China.
"As the Belt and Road Initiative grows, it will become a peace project, a cultural project, and a stability project," he said.
The AIIB, which commenced operation in January 2016 to support infrastructure investment, was also praised by the forum participants as an innovative and strategic institution to boost the transformation of global governance.
Calling the AIIB an important contribution of China to the world, Romano Prodi, former Italian prime minister, said the multilateral development bank is a project that seeks common ground in order to achieve common prosperity among all countries involved, effectively putting aside any differences in politics and ideology.
"New Zealand's decision to be one of the first countries to support the AIIB was our commitment to seeking development across our region," said Shipley. "We believe in the integrated regional development strategy and we want innovation to triumph and facilitate this."
China's new perspective on global governance could serve as a driving force for the continued success of globalization, which is much needed in today's world, said some leaders.
In terms of global governance, building a community of a shared future for mankind is "meaningful and constructive," said Prodi, who was also president of the European Commission from 1999 to 2004.
China's efforts to enhance global governance promote globalization, he said, stressing that its proposition and policy will have "profound influence on the whole world."