Interview: Boao becoming Asian version of World Economic Forum, says U.S. expert

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NEW YORK, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Boao has become an important regional forum with global influence, and "It's becoming an Asian version of World Economic Forum," William Overholt, a senior fellow at Harvard University, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

He said that China's commitments to improve global governance and an open economy are widely welcomed, and have great leadership value while there are other strong voices, like those from Washington.

Foreigners "hope for a new wave of successful reform in China, they admire the reform plans that have been promulgated since the third plenum (of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee), and they hope that the Chinese economy will remain strong, because the Chinese economy now affects the whole world," Overholt said. "They will watch announcements at Boao."

This year marks the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up in China. The country's successful reform and opening have created an inspiring example of national development, said Overholt, who wrote The Rise of China (1993), Renminbi Rising (2016), and China's Crisis of Success (2018), among others.

The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), with the theme "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity," is scheduled for April 8-11 in Boao, a town in the southern Chinese island province of Hainan.

Overholt expects Boao to continue China's presentation of its policies as open, globalizing and leading forces on environmental amelioration.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will expound on China's achievements and experience in reform and opening-up and their influence on the world, and announce new measures to expand reform and opening-up, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday when briefing media on the details of the upcoming forum.

Besides, the senior researcher said he expects more actions to be taken to encourage trade multilateralism and back up the open economy and it seems such concerns have already drawn the attention of the Chinese government.

The BFA has been expanding both in scale and influence since its establishment 17 years ago, and has played a unique role in building consensus, deepening regional cooperation, boosting common development, and resolving Asian and global problems.

"Chinese demand and Chinese investment have stimulated growth everywhere, including in many of the poorest countries and are especially important for Africa," the author said.

"Innovation-driven development is the only possible long-term driver of the successful Asian economies," Overholt said.

Recently, China's declared support for an open global market has been very important when the U.S. administration has turned inward, he said.

China has in fact moved further in this direction compared with earlier policies, Overholt pointed out, citing the declared policies of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as favorable indicators.