Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 腾讯微博 Wednesday 3 June 2015

Harder times show need for new institutions to keep Asia developing

(Global Times)    09:48, March 27, 2015

The 2015 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) kicked off in southern China's Hainan Province on Thursday. The four-day annual conference, which is themed around "Asia's New Future: Toward a Community of Common Destiny," comes at a time when Asian countries are in dire need of joining hands to address a series of problems facing the region.

A report released by the BFA Secretariat on Asia's economic integration last week concluded that the Asia miracle of robust growth and trade is losing its luster and the region faces an uncertain future as its economic integration idles.

The conclusion reflects a grim reality in Asia and hence it is past time to build an Asian community of common destiny that brings together countries in the region to deal with issues ranging from people's wellbeing to the regional security and seeks common development for all. This will bring enormous benefits to Asia's development, add to the region's weight in international community and help shape a better future for Asia. After all, no country can prosper by itself in such times.

There have been successful examples of regional integration worldwide, such as the EU. But it will be a long and arduous journey for Asia, with its imbalanced development and complex divergences, to catch up with the EU in this aspect.

Asia has an array of sub-regional cooperation mechanisms in place, such as the East Asian Community, the ASEAN+1 and ASEAN+3 initiatives. Their effective operations will lay a good foundation for forming a larger and more powerful community.

However, the absence of a China-South Korea-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA), currently under discussion, is a big barrier for regional integration as the former two regional powers are in strained relations with the latter due to historical and territorial issues. A strong institution is eventually needed for leading the Asian community as a whole, but its formation can only be made possible when the three countries work out their disagreements and finish the FTA.

At this year's Boao forum, more than 70 formal discussions will be held on topics of regional concern such as macro-economy, industrial transformation and regional development. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) that has been under the spotlight worldwide recently is also an important issue.

Many overseas observers depict the AIIB as a challenge to the 1944 Bretton Woods system and a Chinese attempt to seek yuan hegemony. However, the increasing internationalization of yuan is a trend that conforms to the rules of market while seeking hegemony has never been an option for China as it sticks to a path of peaceful development and will never seek dominance.

Those concerns about the challenged dominance of the dollar will finally fade away when China forges forward with its plans for a mutually prosperous outcome.

The number of countries and regions seeking AIIB membership is expected to exceed 35 after the deadline of March 31 while some countries remain mulling over the participation. As Asian countries can intensify exchanges and learn more about the AIIB on the Boao forum, there will be less skepticism about this financial institution and more confidence in its bright prospects as well as the opportunities it can bring to the world economy.

The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Sun Xiaobo based on an interview with Shen Shishun, an expert of Asia-Pacific studies at the China Institute of International Studies.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Du Mingming,Yao Chun)

Add your comment

Related reading

Full coverage

We Recommend

Most Viewed


Key Words