The theme of this year's Boao Forum for Asia, Asia's New Future: Towards a Community of Common Destiny, which represents aspirations for peace and development in the region, drew international attention.
For many years, countries in Asia have been exploring methods of development. In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, the need for development became more urgent than ever, and thus, the vision of an Asian community that shares the same destiny was put forward. Owing to the continuing efforts of the Chinese Government, the vision has finally made the agenda of the region's leaders.
As the Asian economic scenario has managed to maintain a robust growth momentum despite the recession in the global economy, this region has become and will continue to be the engine driving global economic growth. Cooperation between Asian countries has been expanded and strengthened and all kinds of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements are binding countries in this region ever closer. It is against this backdrop that the new vision has gained currency.
However, compared with Europe, Asia faces bigger obstacles to building a community with a shared future. The complex history of the region and its manifold political complexities necessitate that countries in the region, though bound together by economic interests, will retain national independence.
The aforementioned complex state of affairs in Asia demands that the construction of a community should be led by one, preferably impartial, country. China's foreign policy is characterized by the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and a new security concept that calls for common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. These notions have laid a theoretical foundation for the peaceful coexistence and common development of Asian countries. China, therefore, has been chosen as the de facto leader in the community-building process.
China has been practical in fostering a sense of community in Asia. Ever since unveiling the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative in 2013, Chinese leaders have proposed multiple new frameworks, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Silk Road Fund, and the BRICS New Development Bank, which are designed to provide funding for infrastructure construction as well as the exchange and training of personnel involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.
As it stands, these initiatives have met with an enthusiastic response from various parties. As of March 31, 52 economies had joined or applied to join the AIIB as founding members, including Western countries such as Britain, France and Germany. It is believed that the prosperity of Asia will hold the rest of the world awestruck in the near future.