The Boao International Conference Center in Boao, south China’s Hainan Province. (File photo: Xinhua)
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for greater global economic integration and warned against a new “Cold War” and ideological confrontation in “whatever forms” at the opening ceremony of the 2021 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) on Tuesday.
The four-day annual conference, under the theme “A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Cooperation,” is being held from Sunday to Wednesday in Boao, a tropical resort in South China’s Hainan Province.
It’s also the first international forum comprising mostly offline conferences this year, against the background of growing protectionism and pandemic woes.
“We must not let the rules set by one or a few countries be imposed on others, or allow unilateralism pursued by certain countries to set the pace for the whole world,” Xi stressed. Big countries should behave in a manner befitting their status and with a greater sense of responsibility, he added.
We live in an age rife with challenges, while also full of hope, Xi said, adding that the world has entered a period of turbulent change, and uncertainties have risen significantly.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it all the more clear to people around the world that we must reject the Cold War and zero-sum mentality and oppose a new ‘Cold War’ and ideological confrontation in whatever forms,” Xi said.
World affairs should be handled through extensive consultation, and the future of the world should be decided by all countries working together, Xi said.
This is the fifth time that President Xi attended the forum. The 2020 BFA conference was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Global leaders and the heads of international organizations, including the International Monetary Fund and United Nations, also attended the forum both online and offline.
2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the BFA. The forum has witnessed the extraordinary journey of China, of Asia and of the world, and has exerted a significant influence in boosting development in Asia and beyond, Xi said.
During his keynote speech, Xi also expounded on “Chinese concepts” and “Chinese solutions” amid the current international and regional situations, outlining China’s solution of building up the development and prosperity for Asia and the world.
Economic globalization is showing renewed resilience, and the call for upholding multilateralism and enhancing communication and coordination has grown stronger, noted Xi.
China will stay committed to peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, develop friendship and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and promote a new type of international relations, Xi said.
China will continue to carry out anti-COVID cooperation with the WHO and other countries, honor its commitment of making vaccines a global public good, and do more to help developing countries defeat the virus, noted Xi.
In 2018, Xi announced a new round of China’s opening-up measures at the event, with the expectation that the country’s opening-up efforts will benefit all enterprises and people in China and around the world. The measures included significantly broadening market access, creating a more attractive investment environment and strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights, among others.
Xi also reiterated China’s commitment to further opening-up, saying that it will take an active part in multilateral cooperation on trade and investment, fully implement the Foreign Investment Law and its supporting rules and regulations, and further cut the negative list on foreign investment.
China will also continue to develop the Hainan Free Trade Port and develop new systems for a higher-standard open economy, Xi added.
Xi announced that China will host the Second Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations as soon as the pandemic is under control, to facilitate exchanges among Asian and world civilizations. The first conference was held in Beijing in May 2019.