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Special> Boao Forum for Asia 2014> Opinion
UPDATED: April 8, 2011 NO. 15 APRIL 14, 2011
Asia's Platform


Chi Fulin (YAO DAWEI) 

Ten years have passed since the Boao Forum for Asia was created in 2001. Bringing Asian countries closer together, the forum has become a major event in the region. In an exclusive interview with Beijing Review reporter Yu Shujun, Chi Fulin, President of the China Institute for Reform and Development (CIRD), discussed the forum's increasing global reputation and what makes it unique from other international forums. Edited excerpts follow:

Beijing Review: What role has the Boao Forum for Asia played in promoting regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries even closer to their development goals?

Chi Fulin: In the past decade, the forum has made significant contributions to economic cooperation and trade prosperity within Asia and helped stimulate the Asia's economic growth.

Sustainable development has been a common goal in Asia. But, in the past, the region lacked an effective mechanism to push forward cooperation and coordination. Like the APEC and the ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan and South Korea) summit, the Boao Forum for Asia is another high-level platform for both government and business leaders within the region. It has played an increasingly remarkable role in promoting regional integration in terms of economy, trade and investments.

Meanwhile, the forum has been very important for building a better Asian community. It has helped shape the shared value of all Asian countries characterized by equality, openness, mutual learning and mutual acceptance. The forum is like a chronicle of Asia's regional cooperation, reflecting friendship, peace, development and prosperity in Asia.

The forum has also provided an important bridge for cooperation between China and other Asian nations. For many years, China's top leaders have attended the forum and made speeches, addressing Asia's development opportunities and challenges and offering suggestions for closer cooperation on the continent. China is becoming increasingly confident about Asia's future. Its Asian policies are also improving.

How has the forum boosted its international influence in the past 10 years?

As a non-official pan-Asia international organization, the forum presents Asian values to the world and allows Asia's voices to be heard. As China becomes a growth engine for the world economy, the forum has also drawn considerable attention worldwide. The country's growing economic clout and participation of top leaders paved the way for the forum to step onto the international stage.

In addition, changes to the forum's function are also taking place. Originally, it was a vehicle for Asia to have its voice heard. Now, it influences the world with those voices.

The forum is not only China's largest platform for international communication, but also an important bridge connecting Asia and the rest of the world. It can also reflect emerging economies' positions in the world economy and their common concerns.

How have the themes been set for the forum's annual conferences?

The themes must be major topics concerning development of all Asian nations or important global events, like New Century, New Challenge, A New Asia for the 2002 annual conference, Asia Seeking Common Development Through Cooperation for 2003, Asia: Managing Beyond Crisis for 2009 and Green Recovery: Asia's Realistic Choice for Sustainable Growth for 2010.

With these themes, the forum aims to advance cooperation and sustainable development on the continent and create a win-win situation for Asian economies.

What are the differences between the Boao Forum for Asia and other counterparts?

Three characteristics make the Boao Forum for Asia special. First, it is non-official and open. That is why the forum is not influenced by any government. It is dedicated to discussions about major problems facing Asian nations, and allows enterprises to play a leading role at the forum.

Second, the forum is non-profit. It is attractive to leaders in government, business and academia in Asia and other continents to share visions on the most pressing issues in this dynamic region and the world at large. That is the root cause why the forum has grown in popularity.

Third, it is high-level. A number of political leaders from Asia and the rest of the world gather at Boao, Hainan Province, each year, to attend the annual conference.

How has the CIRD supported the forum?

During 2001-06, CIRD offered many services as the forum's only think-tank.

First, we built a team of researchers to compile the proposal themes, background research reports and the list of guests for the forum's first annual conference.

Second, we invited many well-known Asia experts to a seminar in Beijing to share their views on the above-mentioned documents.

Third, we established the Asian Research Institute and the Committee of Asian Experts to offer intellectual supports and services for the forum.

Fourth, our researchers took part in the first annual conference and presented the Summary of the First Annual Conference of Boao Forum for Asia to the Secretariat.

Between 2007 and 2010, we continued to research and provide opinions on conference themes.

Themes of Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conferences

2002: New Century, New Challenge, A New Asia

2003: Asia Seeking Common Development Through Cooperation

2004: Asia Searching for Win-Win: An Asia Open to the World

2005: Asia Searching for Win-Win: New Role of Asia

2006: The New Opportunities of Asia: Driving Growth to the Next Level

2007: Asia Winning in Today's Global Economy—Innovation and Sustainable Development

2008: Green Asia: Moving Toward Win-Win Through Changes

2009: Asia: Managing Beyond Crisis

2010: Green Recovery: Asia's Realistic Choice for Sustainable Growth

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