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Influnential forum opens to push Asian development, integration

Updated: 2015-03-27 01:30

Influnential forum opens to push Asian development, integration

Participants attend a roundtable discussion with the theme of "Building the Silk Road Consensus" during the 2015 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in Boao, south China's Hainan Province, March 26, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

BOAO,Hainan, March 26 -- The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) began on Thursday in the southern island province of Hainan.

The four-day event attracts nearly 1,800 delegates from governments and businesses worldwide, including a record number of leaders from 15 foreign countries, in addition to more than 1,000 media staff.

President Xi Jinping is scheduled to give a keynote speech at the opening ceremony.

Under the theme of "Asia's New Future: Towards a Community of Common Destiny", topics will span issues such as the China-proposed "Belt and Road" initiatives to Asia's economic integration.

"Belt and Road" Plan

The "Belt and Road" initiatives will be a hot topic at the gathering.

Xi proposed the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road during his visits to Central and Southeastern Asia in 2013.

The initiatives have attracted the attention of the international community and have received a warm response from the countries involved.

Zhou Wenzhong, secretary-general of the BFA, said the initiatives would promote regional and global economic exchange and development via cooperation.

The BFA will highlight the opportunities the initiatives will offer to multinationals, the co-construction of the routes and the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which will be formally established by the year end.

Britain, Germany and many Asian economies have expressed the willingness to be involved in the AIIB. The bank currently has 27 founding members and expects more.

The AIIB aims to facilitate infrastructure investment in Asia and will be complementary to established multilateral banks.

"As the initiatives are gradually realized, they will have knock-on effects, which will narrow regional gaps and accelerate integration," Zhou said.

Asia remains the most dynamic region in the world, contributing over half of global economic growth. However, many Asian economies, including China, must undertake structural reform amid downward pressure.

The Asian Development Bank forecast that developing economies in the region will maintain 6.3 percent year on year growth in 2015, but will have to cope with uncertainties from the United States' rising rates, easing policies of Japan and the European Union and volatile crude oil prices.

The largest economy in the region, China, is attempting to develop its growth pattern transformation amid the "new normal" economic period, which features medium-high level growth, and will forge ahead with reform,opening up and technological innovation.

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