Although Asian countries have participated in many international conferences and organizations such as APEC and PECC, Asia as a whole lacks a forum, led by Asians and guided from perspectives of Asian interests and views, provides opportunity to exclusively discuss the Asia issues and aims at enhancing cooperation and exchanges among Asian countries, and between Asian countries and other parts of the world. Against this backdrop, in September 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, similar to the World Economic Forum headquartered in Davos.
The idea, once it was put forward, was warmly received by the related Asian countries. On Oct 8, 1999, Hu Jintao, Chinese vice-president at the time, met with Fidel V. Ramos and Bob Hawke who came to China especially for the Asian Forum. After the briefing by initiators of the conceived forum, Hu Jintao said that the Chinese Government always supports and attaches importance to multi-level, multi-channel and multi-type of regional cooperation and dialogue, the establishment of the forum would be conducive to promoting understanding, trust and cooperation among the countries of the region. The Chinese government would study the idea prudently and positively and would provide all necessary support and cooperation. Meanwhile, Hu Jintao emphasized that since the recognition, understanding and support of the related governments was vital to the establishment of the forum, China would wished to get itself further acquainted with the responses of other countries on this issue. It was followed successively with positive responses of the 25 countries in Asia.
Against this backdrop, the Inauguration Ceremony of the BFA was held on Feb 26-27, 2001 in Boao, Hainan province, China. Former leaders from 26 countries also graced the occasion as our Guests of Honour by addressing the Ceremony. The BFA was officially launched at the Ceremony. Declaration of the BFA, Guidelines of the BFA Charter were adopted during the Ceremony. The Inauguration was a great success and gained wide spread concern from the international community.