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Boao Forum for Asia

Updated: 2013-04-03 15:30

Boao Forum for Asia

As a non-government, non-profit international organization, Boao Forum for Asia, or BFA, is the most prestigious and premier forum for leaders in government, business and academia in Asia and other continents to share visions on the most pressing issues in this dynamic region and the world at large. The Forum is committed to promoting regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries even closer to their development goals.

Initiated in 1998 by former President of the Philippines Fidel V. Ramos, former Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke, and former Prime Minister of Japanand Morihiro Hosokawa, Boao Forum for Asia was formally inaugurated in February 2001. Countries across the region have responded with strong support and great enthusiasm, and the world has listened attentively to the voice coming from a tiny, quiet and scenic island at the southernmost part of China - Boao, the permanent site of the Annual Conference of the Forum since 2002.


The last half-century has been witness to remarkable progress made in economic and social development by Asian countries. As a result, Asia's influence in international and regional affairs has been increasing steadily. Thanks to the economic take-off in East Asia over the past two decades, which is perceived by the world as the East Asian miracle, the overall Asian economy has developed rapidly. This has made Asia prominent among the regions in the world, which have undergone the most dynamic economic development. Although Asia has suffered a lot from the financial crisis at the end of the twentieth century, the Asia economies are now back on a path of recovery and economic stability due to their capacity for self-adjustment and reform.

Although Asian countries have participated in many international conferences and organizations such as APEC and PECC, Asia as a whole lacks a forum, led by Asians and guided from perspectives of Asian interests and views, provides opportunity to exclusively discuss the Asia issues and aims at enhancing cooperation and exchanges among Asian countries, and between Asian countries and other parts of the world. Against this backdrop, in September 1998, former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, former Japanese prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa and former Filipino President Fidel V. Ramos put forward the proposal to establish an Asian Forum, similar to the World Economic Forum headquartered in Davos.

The idea, once it was put forward, was warmly received by the related Asian countries. On Oct 8, 1999, Hu Jintao, Chinese vice-president at the time, met with Fidel V. Ramos and Bob Hawke who came to China especially for the Asian Forum. After the briefing by initiators of the conceived forum, Hu Jintao said that the Chinese government always supports and attaches importance to multi-level, multi-channel and multi-type of regional cooperation and dialogue, the establishment of the forum would be conducive to promoting understanding, trust and cooperation among the countries of the region. The Chinese government would study the idea prudently and positively and would provide all necessary support and cooperation. Meanwhile, Hu Jintao emphasized that since the recognition, understanding and support of the related governments was vital to the establishment of the forum, China would wished to get itself further acquainted with the responses of other countries on this issue. It was followed successively with positive responses of the 25 countries in Asia.

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