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Forum set to promote regional integration
( 2003-11-01 09:31) (China Daily)

Senior officials from the Boao Forum for Asia said Friday in Boao, Hainan province that they are committed to developing regional integration in order to benefit the entire "Asian family.''

The forum will open its second two-day annual conference in Boao, a small town in South China's Hainan Province on Sunday.

Fidel V. Ramos, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Forum, told a press conference that the organization will "bring together various elements of the Asian family'' and, in the future, make Asia a region similar to the European Union and the North America free trade zone in terms of integration.

Ramos, former president of the Philippines, said China is playing a crucial role in promoting regional integration because it provides a huge market for Asian countries.

Meanwhile, China's development will also allow it to make investments and transfer technology to other Asian countries, said Ramos, who was one of the major initiators of the forum, the only non-official international organization in Asia, three years ago.

He wants China to be "a big brother'' of the Asian family and act as a major force in the settlement of conflicts in the "family,'' such as the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

Long Yongtu, secretary-general of the forum, said at the press conference that China's policy is to make her neighbours richer by letting them share the benefits of China's development.

So far about 1,000 delegates from political, economic and academic circles have confirmed their attendance at the forum, including Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

The themes of conference is " Asia Searching for Win-Win Development through Co-operation.''

Officials and experts will look at the prospects for the development of the Asian economy, review the prospects for economic and trade co-operation in Asia and discuss financial security and co-operation in Asia.

The forum is an authoritative think-tank organization and the highest dialogue platform for exploring Asian issues, said Long, who led the negotiations for China's entry into the World Trade Organization.

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