Boao Forum favorable occasion to turn crisis into opportunity: China Daily editorial
When the Boao Forum for Asia was launched in 2001, Asian countries were seeking economic integration in the aftermath of the 1998 Asian financial crisis.
Twenty years on, as the Annual Conference of the BFA 2021 is convened from Sunday to Wednesday on the island of Hainan, the countries in Asia, and beyond, come together in the face of new challenges. Not only that of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still raging in some countries, but also the rising unilateralism and protectionism that are sabotaging global efforts to respond to it.
Themed "A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation", the annual conference of the BFA 2021, with more than 2,600 people participating in person, is the first large-scale international conference held this year in a predominantly offline form. That is testimony to the efficacy of the pandemic prevention and control measures in China and other Asian countries, as well as the participants' recognition that the forum is a platform to deepen regional economic cooperation.
An important reason why the annual conference of the BFA this year has caught worldwide attention is because Asia is not only the major engine for world growth, but also occupies an important position in the global supply chains. And with the Chinese economy emerging from the impacts of the pandemic earlier than other major economies, the world is pinning hopes on Asian economies strengthening their coordination and playing a bigger role in boosting a post-pandemic global recovery.
Compared with 20 years ago, the Chinese and other Asian economies have become larger in size and more efficient in operation. That the Association of Southeast Asian Nations became China's largest trade partner last year at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic speaks volumes of how deeply their interests are intertwined, how complementary their economies are, and how much they depend on each other in the face of difficulties.
Against the backdrop of the complex and volatile international economic and political landscape and the disruption to normal dialogues and exchanges, the forum provides an opportunity for China to promote the development of the Belt and Road Initiative and expound on its vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, and outline the opportunities that will be created by China's long-term development objectives.
With the collective rise of Asian economies, the Boao Forum for Asia is acquiring more global significance, not only for fostering greater economic cooperation, but also for upholding multilateralism based on mutual respect, mutual trust and win-win cooperation.
As demonstrated by the forum, Asian countries have set a good example over the years of how self-interest can be served by focusing on common interests.