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Forum to Explore Asia's New Role

The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) 2005 Annual Conference was slated for April 22 to 24 and will focus on the roles Asia can play under the current fast-changing economic circumstances, a senior Chinese official said Wednesday.

Secretary-general Long Yongtu of the BFA said at a press conference that energy, monetary policy, exchange rates and information technology will be the major subjects of the annual conference to be held in Boao of south China's Hainan Province.

At the request of the sino-foreign business community, a special workshop on the Olympic economy will be arranged. Another two small symposiums on China's real-estate and automobile sectorswill also be held.

Given last year's celebrity luncheon attended by former US president George Bush was very successful, Long said more celebrities will be invited this year.

Compared with past three conferences, this upcoming one will include for the first time a special session on economic issues ofone particular country. Australian Prime Minister John Howard willbe present then to support the first session, which will focus on Australia and its cooperation with Asia, Long said.

Moreover, a number of ministers from both China and abroad will be invited to attend a face-to-face discussion with representatives from the business community. he said.

There are also two workshops where heavy-weight entrepreneurs and economists will get together to discuss corporate governance and how Chinese companies can go international.

In term of the regional cooperation in Asia, Long said despitethe presence of 10+3 model between ASEAN and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea in east Asia and the South Asian economic cooperation framework, Asia still lacks a mechanism to get its alldifferent regions together.

With the increase of oil prices, Central Asia has witnessed a fast development in recent years and stands as an integrate part of Asian economic collaboration, he said.

Calling BFA a robust non-governmental economic forum in Pan-Asia region, Long said that the forum will continue to track latest development in the world economy and be more responsive to the concerns on Asian and global economies.

Long said that at this year's conference, approximately 1,000 prestigious entrepreneurs, high-ranking officials, economists and scholars from around the world will get together.

Although the conference is still three months' away, Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia already confirmed their participation.

"This is unprecedented," Long said.

(Xinhua News Agency January 20, 2005)

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