Leaders and former leaders from 25 countries in Asia and Australia attended inaugural conference of Boao Forum for Asia, which is the symbol of Asia's prosperity, stability and harmony on February 27, 2001 in Boao, Hainan.
East Asia has suffered the financial crisis in 1997. In the face of this kind of blow and competitions of other economic plates, more and more Asian countries have realized the inequality in international trade and investment and even the whole world economic order, the inequality in the transfer of finance, investment and technology and the inequality in interests and loss that globalization brings. The Asian countries have also realized that economic globalization brings new opportunity as well as severe challenge for Asia, and they need seek countermeasures that can bring profits and avoid disadvantages in time. When seeing the further development of European economic integration and North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA), the bad organization degree and the lag-behind state of economic integration in Asia and the fact that the absence of Asia' voice in international multilateral co-operation mechanism, more and more Asian countries have realized strongly at present that to promote the whole competitiveness of Asian area, they must strengthen dialogue, coordination and cooperation among Asian countries.
Against this backdrop, in 1998, former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, former Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa and former Filipino President Fidel V. Ramos put forward the proposal to establish an "Asian Forum." This proposal was warmly received by the related Asian countries.
Former Filipino President Fidel V. Ramos and former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke came to China to promote the idea of the "Asian Forum" in October, 1999. At that time the vice-president Hu Jintao has expressed the support attitude of China too.
Supported by China and other related countries, through the joint efforts of various fields, the idea of Boao Forum for Asia has been put into practice.
(Boaoforum.org April 19, 2004)