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Australian, Austrian PMs to Attend Bo'ao Forum

Government leaders of Australia and Austria are scheduled to deliver their first-ever speeches at the imminent Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2005 in China's southernmost island province of Hainan, organizers of the forum said Tuesday.

John Howard, the prime minister of Australia, and Wolfgang Schuessel of Austria, will be among the estimated 800 government leaders, scholars and entrepreneurs to attend the forum to be held during April 22-24.

Australian Prime Minister Howard will attend the special session of China and Australia - The Energy Future as an honorary guest, while the Austrian Chancellor is expected to give a keynote speech of New Role of Asia and the Future of Asia-Europe Cooperation.

A spokesman for the organizing committee said there will be a lot more new faces at the conference, indicating the growing influence of the forum all over the world.

In addition to Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, prime minister of Malaysia, Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, King of Nepal, Lee Kuan Yew, minister mentor of Singapore, and Karim Khalili, vice president of Afghanistan, will also take part in the conference.

Other leaders include Supachai Panitchpakdi, director-general of the World Trade Organization, Martin Bartenstein, Austrian federal minister for economy and labor, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China.

According to a statement from the secretariat of the forum, more than 100 senior executives from multinational companies and regional headquarters of multinationals will attend the annual conference.

Many of the corporate leaders are from European and American transnational companies, such as BMW, TNT and Microsoft.

Prof. Yin Zhongyi, deputy president of China Institute for Reform and Development, a Hainan-based organization providing intellectual support for BFA, said the non-governmental forum serves as a perfect venue for people from Asia and other parts of the world to discuss sensitive issues.

The forum draws much attention of the media from both at home and overseas. A total of 370 journalists have already registered for covering the annual conference, including about 150 overseas correspondents.

(Xinhua News Agency April 21, 2005)

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