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Boao Forum, seeking development for all | Updated: 2013-04-04 15:15

 Boao Forum, seeking development for all

Photo taken on April 2, 2013 shows the fountain plaza of Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2013 in Boao, south China's Hainan Province. The BFA 2013 conference will be held from April 6 to 8 in Boao.[Photo/Xinhua]

The annual Boao forum for Asia conference gets underway later this week in the city of Boao on Hainan.

CRI's Wang Lei takes us through some of the expected highlights.

Secretary-General of the Boao Forum for Asia Zhou Wenzhong explains why this year's theme is about "seeking development for all".

"At a time (when we) saw economic difficulties for various reasons, including political considerations at home, countries can be more protective and this is understandable. But I think we should keep in mind that protectionism will only make the growth more difficult for everyone."

China has expressed clear opposition to trade protectionism, especially amid the global economic downturn. Zhou says that cooperation between Asian countries is a wise choice.

"Asia is still the fastest-growing region in the world and Asia is becoming an engine. (I know that) they have come up with all kinds of plans; my understanding is that Thailand wants to develop a high-speed railway from Thailand to Cambodia, and Malaysia and Singapore are talking about a high-speed rail system between them."

Zhou Wenzhong adds that Asia's development also needs the cooperation with countries outside the continent, like the US. Regarding the difficulties that Chinese enterprises meet when investing in the US, he says it is common knowledge that the world is becoming more diversified. Differences should be respected and should not be an obstacle for cooperation.

"I think we should learn to live together in order to grow together. As far as the Chinese businesses in the US is concerned, I think they are very interested in making investments in the United States, but very often we keep hearing bad news. So that has made the environment very unfriendly as far as Chinese investments are concerned. I think that's not fair, because since China's opening up in the 1970s, US businesses have made a lot of investments in China, and China has benefited from that investment. We continue to welcome foreign investment, including the US investment, so we hope the US would also welcome Chinese investment."

In addition to economic issues this year's agenda also includes topics concerning education, health, food safety, and culture.

Zhou is calling for joint efforts in dealing with food safety.

"It concerns people's health. And it also concerns the stable growth of an economy. I think food safety is an issue we all need to do something about, because no country can try to complete or finish the job relying only on itself."

It's important for Asian countries to speak out concerning their needs and talk to each other. As globalization is inevitable, what the countries need to know is how to learn to live with it, and try to benefit from it as much as possible.

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