Li Baodong: Boao Forum has sought development for 20 years

By Ding Xin / hicn.cn / Updated: 18:58,09-April-2021

From April 18 to 21, the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 will be held in Boao, the first in-person large-scale international conference this year worldwide. The Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 is not only a unique annual meeting during the pandemic period, but this year will also mark the Forum’s 20th anniversary.

“In the past 20 years, the BFA has adhered to the principles of openness and win-win cooperation, as well as the initial goal to promote the common development of Asia and the world," said Li Baodong, Secretary-General of the Boao Forum for Asia. He believes that as  Asia continues to grow in prosperity, the Forum will continue to innovate and forge ahead, while still maintaining its unique resources, advantages, and influence, joining hands with all parties in the spirit of cooperation. "The Forum and Hainan Province will become even closer partners contributing to the development of free trade and integration within Asia, as well as to the promotion of common development in Asia and around the world."

Promoting the common development of Asia and the world

In Li Baodong's view, the Boao Forum for Asia, a high-end international communication platform based in Asia and facing the world, has witnessed Asia's take-off in the 21st century and has also worked hand in hand with emerging economies to overcome many challenges. On the 20th anniversary of its establishment, the Forum has a new look. While adhering to the mainline of the economy, the Forum is now expanding to include innovation, health, education, culture, media, and other fields, actively gathering consensus from participants from all walks of life, including politics, business, academia, and media, and is committed to promoting the development and prosperity of Asia and the world.

"Back in those days, Boao was a small fishing village. In the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis, 26 (now 29) Asia-Pacific countries, with a broad historical perspective, unanimously endorsed the establishment of a platform for political and business dialogue about Asia," said Li Baodong. He believes that the Forum held in Boao in 2001 attracted thought leaders from around the world with its unique charm. 20 years on, Boao has seen qualitative improvements in both “hardware” and “software”, and the Forum's activities have grown bigger and more far-reaching.

"Development is the basis and key to solving all problems. Over the past 20 years, everything the Boao Forum for Asia has done was for development, promoting development, and serving development," said Li Baodong. From promoting Asian economic integration to gathering positive energy for the development of Asia and the world, seeking development and promoting cooperation is the main theme running through all the activities of the Forum.

Looking ahead, Li Baodong said that the Forum will continue to maintain its determination and self-confidence, working with insightful people from the world's political, business, academic, and media sectors to hold high the banner of globalization and multilateralism, discussing the development and finding excellent solutions together, and promoting the development of the global governance system in a more just and reasonable direction. “I believe that more knowledge will spring up on the BFA stage with the joint efforts of all partners, and Asia, and even the whole world, will continue to be closely connected with the BFA in the next 20 years.” 

The 2021 Forum offers a wide variety of activities

"The year 2021 is the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Forum. This year has an important significance to carry on the past and begin the future,” said Li Baodong.

The theme of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 is "A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation". On this topic, Li Baodong said that the international situation has changed profoundly due to the impact of the pandemic. The 2021 Forum's priority is to ensure safe pandemic prevention, to help Asia and the world to build consensus on development, and to rebuild confidence in growth.  

Assisting in the development of the Hainan Free Trade Port

In the 20 years since the Boao Forum for Asia was founded in Hainan, Hainan has witnessed and safeguarded the development of the Forum, and also benefited from its development.

Li Baodong specifically mentioned the development of the Hainan Free Trade Port. "In June of last year, the Master Plan for the Development of the Hainan Free Trade Port was released, ushering in a major historical development opportunity for Hainan, which stands at the forefront of a new round of reform and opening up in China,"  said Li Baodong. The Forum Secretariat will take practical action to better support Hainan's participation in Asian regional cooperation and support the development of the Hainan Free Trade Port.

Last year, the Boao Forum for Asia set up a permanent office in Haikou, the Boao Forum for Asia Secretariat Haikou Office, the first international conference institute with global influence in Hainan. Li Baodong said that the Forum Secretariat will pay close attention to suggestions, gather international resources, create more activities and actions focused on the comprehensive deepening of reform and opening up of Hainan, and make a significant contribution to the development of the Hainan Free Trade Port.

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