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Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference Opens

The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference 2005 opened Saturday morning at the International Conference Center in Boao, a scenic town in China's southernmost island province of Hainan.


Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China's top advisory body, delivered a keynote speech after the opening ceremony, advocating to build a harmonious and prosperous Asia.



Jia told the audience of more than 1,200 political leaders, business people, experts and scholars that China is committed to developing good-neighborly relationship and partnership by constantly deepening friendly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation with other Asian countries.


The celebrities attending the annual conference include Australian Premier John Howard, Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Shussel, King Gyanendra of Nepal, Afghanistan Vice President AbdulKarim Khalili, Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Acting Chief-Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuan of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.


"Right now, Asia is faced with a historic opportunity for development," as all Asian peoples share the aspiration for peace, stability, development and cooperation, said Jia.


Against the backdrop of surging economic globalization, many Asian countries have succeeded in restructuring their economies, accelerated their industrial upgrading, increased the level of science and technology and maintained the development momentum.


In the process of regional integration, the Asian countries have found themselves increasingly interdependent through closer dialogue and coordination, visibly improved capacity of fending off risks with a burgeoning regional network of cooperation, he said.


However, Jia said, Asia is also faced with numerous difficulties and challenges. "Historical disputes and present conflicts are eroding the mutual trust among certain countries. Traditional and non-traditional security threats, ranging from regional hot-spots and terrorism to transnational crimes are intertwined to render Asia insecure."


Other problems, such as ecological degradation, natural disasters, communicable diseases and widening wealth gap are also drags on Asia's development, Jia said.


Facing both opportunities and challenges, Jia suggested, "we should build a harmonious Asia where countries coexist in amity politically, conduct equal-footed and mutually beneficial cooperation economically, trust one another with close coordination on security matters, and complement each other culturally."


Jia said that Asian nations should endeavor to maintain peace and stability, promote common development, push forward comprehensive cooperation, and respect diversity.


Referring to the achievements China has made over the past 20 years, Jia said China has established a socialist market economy system while the Chinese people are on the whole enjoying a life of moderate prosperity along with progress in all social undertakings in the country.


"China's development is closely linked with Asia's prosperity,"Jia emphasized.


As the largest importer in Asia, China has begun to show its potential as a new major investor and source of outbound tourists. Dedicated to promoting multilateral security cooperation in the region and facilitating peaceful settlement of regional hot-spots, China has made a contribution to peace and stability in the region.


China has also contributed to the regional integration by actively participating in Asia-based regional economic cooperation, he added.


"China's development is a peaceful one. Deeply seated in China's history is a cultural tradition that honors promises and promotes harmony among all nations. The humiliation and bullying they were subjected to in the past have made the Chinese people cherish all the more dearly their sovereignty, peace and stability," said Jia.


At present, development is of overriding importance. China will stay on the path of peaceful development, devoting all of its resources to development.


"There is neither reason nor possibility for us to threaten anyone," he said, adding that China will never seek hegemony even if it gets more developed in the future. "This is our solemn pledge that will never change."


A stable, open and prosperous China is bound to make even greater contribution to peace and development in Asia, Jia said.


The opening ceremony of 2005 BFA annual conference was presided by BFA General-Secretary Long Yongtu. Chairman of the BFA board Fidel Ramos delivered a welcoming speech. The theme of the annual event is Asia Searching for Win-Win: New Role of Asia.


The participants will discuss such major topics as Asia-Europe cooperation, world economic growth, the prospects of the new round of World Trade Organization talks, the monetary policy and economic growth, as well as China's real estate and automotive industries and overseas investment.


Since the open regional forum was established in 2001, the BFA has attracted a great number of Asian high-level officials, businessmen, scholars from across the world to discuss regional and global economic and political issue.


Some 380 journalists, including 150 from overseas news organizations, have arrived to cover this year's annual conference.


(Xinhua News Agency April 23, 2005)


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