The first ASEAN Development Forum, hosted by Xinhua News Agency Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau, opened here Saturday.
Government officials, experts and business leaders from the 10 ASEAN countries, China's mainland and Hong Kong attended the forum to exchange views on issues of their common concern.
Opening the forum, Ju Mengjun, president of Xinhua's Asia- Pacific Regional Bureau, said the forum is aimed to enhance mutual trust, closer cooperation through in-depth exchange of views in an effort to build common destiny characterized by mutual benefits and win-win results.
He noted that in today's world, development remains the main theme, while cooperation forms the prerequisite and mutual trust its very foundation. Regional cooperation, featuring geographical proximity, has been its most dynamic and effective form, and ASEAN is just such a block for regional cooperation.
Currently, this unique regional group is accelerating the pace of integration, enhancing connectivity with the rest of the world and among its members and wielding an increasing global influence, he added.
The forum, themed "Build Mutual Trust and a Community of Common Destiny," will have discussions on four major topics: building common destiny with strategic mutual trust, deepening economic and trade cooperation with upgraded China-ASEAN FTA, enhancing connectivity with 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and working toward an ASEAN community with practical cooperation.
Yang Xiuping, Chinese ambassador to ASEAN, Korn Babbaransi, former deputy prime minister of Thailand and chairman of Thai- Chinese Friendship Association, Jonathan Choi Loon-shum, permanent honorary president of Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and chairman of Sunwah Group made keynote speeches at the forum. Soegeng Rahardjo, Indonesian ambassador to China, sent a message of congratulations had his keynote speech read by his representative at the forum.