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Challenges of Globalization, Terrorism Boost Asian Cooperation
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The Asian financial crisis of 1997 has galvanized Asian countries to exert their collective capabilities to avoid another such economic catastrophe, says Fidel V. Ramos, chairman of Boao Forum for Asia (BFA).

In his message to the BFA, which will begin its annual conference on Saturday in the town of Boao in south China's Hainan Province, the former Philippine president said the challenges of globalization and continuing threat of international terrorism will test the solidarity of the Asian family.

The lack of core technical competence and the fragility of financial regulatory systems led to the Asian financial crisis and severely impacted the economic and social development of many Asian countries, said Ramos.

He said that the BFA is playing an increasingly important role in Asia's economic integration and human development, and its influence is steadily growing.

The theme for the 2007 annual conference is "Asia Winning in Today's Global Economy - Innovation and Sustainable Development".

"It is our shared vision of a peaceful, secure and bountiful world that compels us to interact, cooperate and achieve more and more," he said.

This year sees the sixth BFA conference, Ramos says, and its principal tasks are to give Asian countries a stronger voice in the world and to strengthen economic, cultural and political ties between Asia and the rest of the world.

The BFA should also facilitate effective discussions among policy-makers in government, enterprise and academia, enabling Asian leaders to face the world with more coherence, he said.

The BFA annual conference ends on Sunday.

(Xinhua News Agency April 20, 2007)

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