Boao Forum for Asia displays genuine opening-up: Global Times editorial
Published: Mar 31, 2023 12:09 AM
This photo taken on March 30, 2023 shows the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2023 in Boao, south China's Hainan Province. Photo:Xinhua

This photo taken on March 30, 2023 shows the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2023 in Boao, south China's Hainan Province. Photo:Xinhua

The opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2023 was held on Thursday. This is the first time that the BFA has fully resumed offline meetings since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not difficult to see from the theme of the annual conference - "An Uncertain World: Solidarity and Cooperation for Development amid Challenges" - that "uncertainty" is a major problem facing the world today, while the only solution to break through it is the value concept and practice of solidarity, cooperation, openness, and inclusiveness. In this regard, the BFA has once again provided Oriental wisdom to the world.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang attended the opening ceremony and delivered a keynote speech. He pointed out that in uncertain events, China's certainty is a mainstay that safeguards world peace and development. Li also used six terms to describe China - long-term stability, commitment to development, concrete and courageous actions to achieve progress, confidence and openness as well as willingness to share. This is not only China's self-portrait, but also how various countries across the world perceive China in dealing with China. China not only brings strong and certain economic growth as well as development impetus to the world, but also a friendly attitude of being kind, open-minded and inclusive to others. In other words, China, full of opportunities, has a very positive outlook, which will undoubtedly hedge against many uncertain factors in the international community.

The uncertainty in today's world mainly comes from two aspects - one from politics and another from the economy. Washington is the source for the uncertainty and the biggest uncertainty in the economy is triggered by politics. In the political field, the US has drawn ideological lines and promoted bloc politics, which has also led to the split of the global economy. The US wants to disrupt and divide the supply and industry chains that have spontaneously been formed in the market for many years according to its own will. This has not only brought about uncertainty, but also huge risks to the global economy.

During the two days before the opening ceremony, more than 20 sub-forums have been held at the BFA. Over 1,500 representatives from political, business, and think tank circles from more than 50 countries and regions have engaged in extensive discussions on various specific topics related to the main theme of the forum. The enthusiasm has exceeded expectations. 

In the first sub-forum, every seat was taken, and many people even stood to listen to the entire session. This conveys rich messages to the outside world. For instance, despite the US' vigorous efforts over the past two years to sow discord in the Asia-Pacific region and even the world, attempting to build a wall of isolation around China, the international mainstream society, particularly the majority of Asian countries, do not agree with this approach. In fact, they have resisted the US' coercion and enticement, with their willingness to strengthen exchanges with China increasing instead of decreasing. This has made it possible to achieve unity, cooperation, openness, and inclusiveness in Asia and beyond.

Many foreign leaders attending the forum expressed their optimism about the prospects of Asia, while emphasizing the importance of cooperation. For instance, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that realizing Asia's promise depends on the region remaining stable, inclusive and open, and countries in the region should "maintain stable relations and cooperate practically and productively, both amongst themselves and with our external partners," while "as a very important economy in Asia, China has a big role to play in all of this." Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said, "unfettered competition must give way to spirited collaboration."

These voices have strong representation in Asian countries with a strong practical focus. On the one hand, they reflect these countries indeed have felt pressure as Washington intensifies its suppression and containment of China. On the other hand, these countries have expressed candidly that they do not want their own country or region to become a battlefield for zero-sum games, and they hope to further strengthen unity and cooperation in order to make the region more resilient and able to withstand shocks of the external uncertainties. In fact, peace and development is not only the call of Asia, but also a collective voice of the whole world. The power that comes from their convergence will be immensely strong.

The Boao Forum for Asia is China's home-ground diplomacy, through which the outside world also observes China. The more the US engages in "decoupling," the wider we open our door, and the more we embrace the world and develop together with the world. China has provided valuable certainty to the world. It supports true multilateralism and opposes camp confrontation politically; in terms of the economy, China has continuously promoted high-level opening-up to the outside world and peaceful and inclusive development. With the rise of China's economic size and international influence, the certainty provided by China is becoming increasingly significant and valuable to the world. This is where the significance of China being the "mainstay that safeguards world peace and development" lies.

The BFA is also a window to observe the trend of history. Around the time of this year's BFA, many foreign political figures have already started or are about to embark on visits to China. This indicates that the resonance and consensus triggered by unity, cooperation, openness and inclusiveness are strong. When the world is facing a crossroads of high uncertainty, a new community of shared future for Asia will surely become an anchor of peace and stability, a source of growth impetus, and a new highland of cooperation. It may encounter some backlash, but the overall trend is unstoppable.