Over 1,000 officials, business leaders and scholars from across the world have arrived in China's coastal province of Hainan by Friday to explore ways to further open Asia to the world, touting the continent's ambition of economic and cultural integration.
As this year's annual conference of Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) attracted more participants from other parts of the world, and took a more open attitude to discuss Asian issues in a global political, economic and cultural framework, the Asia-oriented forum is playing an increasingly important role in regional governance.
BFA was founded in 2001 against the backdrop of Asian financial crisis and the Asian country's subsequent seeking for regional economic cooperation and ways to umbrella financial risks.
Thanks to the forum and other economic alliances, the pace of Asian economic cooperation has been significantly quickened.
So far, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had reached an agreement to establish a free trade zone in ten years. Ten ASEAN countries have decided to establish an integrated economic bloc by 2020. Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) also decided to further strengthen links between member nations and promote free trade and investment.
At the same time, BFA, which vowed to provide authoritative suggestions to Asia-related issues, have grew into an important think tank in promoting regional economic integration.
Previous BFA conferences include extensive discussions on many development issues in Asia such as monetary and financial cooperation, sustainable development, media industrialization and reached many agreements in related issues.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong voiced a common wish of promoting economic cooperation and integration in Asia and realize prosperity in Asia at last year's BFA conference.
Participants attending the 2003 conference also exchanged views on establishing effective mechanism of governmental administration, economic development and social coordination to facilitate Asian development, making the BFA event more practical and down-to-earth compared with previous BFA conferences. As a subsequent development of last year's conference, the 2004 BFA annual conference, slated to be held on April 24-25 in Boao, Hainan, focuses on the topic of "Asia Searching for Win-Win: An Asia Open to the World". The topic stressing openness of Asian development will remain focus of discussion in future BFA congregations.
At present, BFA has established close ties with international organizations such as World Trade Organization, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and World Tourism Organization, making the forum an influential and irreplaceable platform of Asian integration and settling regional issues.
(Xinhua News Agency April 23, 2004)