Text by Wang Shuo
While the chills of early spring lingered in the North, the Boao Forum for Asia 2013 Annual Conference gathered in tropical Hainan Province from April 6 to 8. Themed “Asia Seeking Development for All: Restructuring, Responsibility and Cooperation,”the conference discussed topics concerning common development for nations in Asia and beyond.
Why was this theme chosen? What has changed about cooperative modes among Asian countries and regions? What role should China play? With such questions in mind, China Pictorial interviewed Zhou Wenzhong, secretary-general of Boao Forum for Asia.
Restructuring and Responsibility
Since the onset of the global financial crisis, Asia has accounted for two-thirds of the world’s economic growth. Over the past decade, annual economic growth of emerging Asian nations averaged 3.5 percent.
Facing increasingly complicated global economic and political patterns, Asia needs precision navigation. Zhou Wenzhong believes that restructuring is always important, but even more so in the current situation. The economic downturn and European debt crisis exposed defects in current growth modes of developed countries, which in turn illuminated problems emerging economies may face in the future. Achieving sustainable development while preventing further crisis has become a major goal for policy makers.
“Responsibility”was noted in the theme to promote the joint development of Asian countries, according to Zhou. “Each economy should bear common as well as differentiated responsibilities,”he asserts. “When any country enacts policy, it should consider the influence domestic policy can exert on other nations and avoid causing trouble for their neighbors.”
Further Integration of Asia
The European Union and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are two model economic integration systems. The integration of Asia, the most populous continent and fastest growing economy of late, however, remains stuck in incubation without substantial progress. With the tide of economic globalization and regionalization, Asian economies need to quicken their pace of regional economic integration.