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Boao part of home court diplomacy

2015-03-27 08:45 Global Times Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

China will clarify 'One Belt, One Road' initiatives: expert

Analysts believe the 2015 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), which is scheduled to open on Thursday, is another major event in China's home court diplomacy this year, as China becomes more confident and actively involved in international affairs.[Special coverage]

More than 1,700 delegates from 49 countries are expected to attend the BFA in South China's Hainan Province, including top executives from 65 Fortune 500 companies and more than 80 senior officials.

"Boao's status has been increasing over the past years. When it was first launched, BFA was projected as a regional forum focusing on Asian or Southeast Asian economies. But today the forum has become more inclusive with topics expanded to include global issues," said Zhou Yongsheng, a professor of international relations from China Foreign Affairs University.

In 2013, the BFA first introduced non-economic topics to its agenda, such as food safety and US-Asia relations. This year's discussion will cover anti-graft topics for the first time in BFA history.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to attend the forum and deliver a keynote speech at the opening ceremony on Saturday. It will be Xi's third year to attend the forum after attending in 2010 and 2013.

Regional collaboration initiatives, such as the "One Belt, One Road" strategy and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, are said to be the highlights of the four-day forum.

"An important aspect of this year's Boao forum is for China to clarify the definition of 'One Belt, One Road' initiatives," said Zhao Lei, a professor from the Institute of International Strategic Studies of the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China.

"One Belt, One Road" refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives brought up by President Xi in 2013.

"The initiatives are not designed to serve one country. They are seen as a public product [for the international community] that will boost economies and promote social stability in Europe, Asia and Africa. In this sense, we must not let the initiatives be misinterpreted by some, especially not from a political perspective," Zhao told the Global Times.

He believes that the forum, together with a string of other diplomatic events in 2014 and 2015, shows that China's diplomacy has entered a new phase.

"I would like to consider it as an upgraded version of China's diplomacy. China used to be more passive in international affairs," he said, adding that China has become more active in proposing new initiatives for discussion on the global stage.

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