Senior Chinese diplomat Wu Jianmin said the world is going through a critical period and needs fresh wisdom to weather it successfully.
"Traversing this unsettled period is crucial for the whole world," said Wu at the ongoing International Forum on Tao Te Ching when commenting on the world's diplomatic situation.
With the rapid development of a group of developing countries after the Cold War, and the appearance of new global issues that all countries have to face, "the world is now dealing more with qualitative changes than quantitative ones," said Wu, who is president of China Foreign Affairs University.
The veteran diplomat said four reasons have caused the current situation.
The first is the rise of a group of developing countries comprising about half the world's population -- countries such as China, India, Brazil and some ASEAN countries.
"This is a first in history," said the diplomat, claiming the rapid economic growth of China over the past 30 years has made a strong impression.
The second is the acceleration of globalization brought about by rapid economic and scientific development.
"This has united a world that was once relatively separate. The development of science and technology reduces barriers between you and me," he said.
The third reason is the grave challenges humans are facing.
For example, he said, global warming is the result of air pollution by developed countries over the last 300 years, "but humankind must face it together."
The last reason is that humankind is beginning to ponder the issue of war in a new way, according to the diplomat.
"In Iraq, more than 3,000 American soldiers and an estimated 1 million Iraqis have died, but what problems has the war solved?" the diplomat asked.
"This has led to a re-think," he said, adding "The war has caused far more problems than it has solved".
"It's time for people to pay more attention to the values of eastern civilization besides those of western civilization," he said.