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Saturday, 13 April 2013

China sends peace message

The Boao Forum reiterates the need for regional stability for Asia to continue to enjoy economic prospects.

THE Boao Forum for Asia, which concluded in the small town of Boao on southern China’s Hainan island, has reached an important consensus from Asia.

Major Asian leaders want every country in the continent to ensure regional stability so that Asia will continue to enjoy its fast-paced economic prosperity.

Speaking at the opening of the forum, which was running for its 12th year, Chinese President Xi Jinping was the first to make clear his stand – China will not wage a war unless its enemy severely threatened its sovereignty.

He said that China would continue to resolve any differences and disputes it has with its Asian counterparts amicably while expanding cooperation in the continent.

“On the basis of maintaining the sovereignty and safety of our territories, we will work hard to maintain good relations with our neighbours as well as overall peace and stability in our region,” he said.

Xi said China is a peace-loving nation whose people have deep and painful memories of the war and revolt era.

He said China and its Asian neighbours relied on each other as China could not develop in isolation from the rest of Asia and the world, while the world could not enjoy prosperity and stability without China.

“Over the past decade, trade among Asian nations jumped from US$800bil (RM2.4 trillion) to US$3 trillion (RM9 trillion). Trade between Asian nations and other countries increased from US$1.5 trillion (RM4.6 trillion) to US$4.8 trillion (RM14.6 trillion).

“That means trade in Asia is open. Regional and global cooperation goes hand in hand and does not go against each other. Everyone benefits from such cooperation.”

Myanmarese President U Thein Sein said that his government would place great emphasis on collaboration, transparency, accountability and inclusiveness in its political, economic and social reform processes.

He said in spite of the increasing global challenges, uncertainties and high risks, all Asian nations should be able to remain successful in the continent by upholding regional political, social and economic stability continuously.

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev said in order to boost the efficiency of cooperation, all Asian nations need to work together, coordinate with each other more and have a common action agenda.

He said they should explore their decision-making mechanism, accommodate the position of all countries and be more open to the outside world because no country could stay immune from the global impact.

Sultan of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said Asean has a role to play in promoting peace and collaboration.

Brunei’s Asean Chairmanship theme of “Our People, Our Future Together” this year reflects the vision of the Asean founders who believed open conflict would endanger the development prospect of its members.

Thus, they would be committed to refrain from the use of force.

“As the world becomes more and more connected, Asia’s success will contribute to a greater good in the global arena. We all share a collective responsibility in shaping a successful future.

“We are about to face competing political and economic interests and this will pose a threat to our resolve for partnership and harmony,” he said.

Indian Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot said Asia was one of the fastest growing continents in recent years but rapid growth would not occur if each country does its own thing in isolation.

“Good economics and robust growth are only attainable when there is understanding with each other.

“I am delighted to hear what the Chinese President was saying about how we need to have more peace and prosperity for us to grow.

“The global economic recovery can take 10 or 20 years, depending on how focused we are in Asia,” he said.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard pointed out that what North Korea and South Korea were doing on the Korean Peninsula by provoking each other was the last thing Asia wanted to see.

“There, any aggression is a threat to the interest of every country in the region.

“For this reason, I do welcome the growing cooperation of all regional governments to prevent conflict on the Korean peninsula and to counter North Korean aggression.

“That cooperation is also a sign of what would be needed in future as we face other security challenges.

“Asia must be a region of sustainable security in which habits of cooperation are the norm,” she said.

Besides the latest tension on the Korean peninsula, Asia faces other security threats, especially the Kashmir conflict, Gaza Strip tension and counter-claims of islands and sea borders by China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indo-China.

For the sake of regional stability and integration, to start off with, the forum’s vice-chairman Zeng Peiyan proposed for more infrastructures to be built to connect Asian nations together.

“There are two main things we need to work on.

“Firstly, we should establish exchanges and cooperation between each Asian economy on planning and building infrastructures such as electricity, railway, road and telecommunication.

“Secondly, we need to find a solution to the huge financing gaps in infrastructure development in Asia.

“Between 2010 and 2020, Asia will need some US$8 trillion (RM24 trillion) or more to fund infrastructure projects to sustain the current levels of economic growth.

“It will be good that each nation sets up an investment fund which specialises in providing financing services for the construction of such infrastructures,” said Zeng.

Made in China

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