The prime ministers of Singapore and Malaysia are among the foreign leaders who will attend the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2023 in China’s southern island province of Hainan on March 30, where they will also pay official visits to China and meet with Chinese Premier Li Qiang.
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will join other dignitaries such as Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire Patrick Achi and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva at the forum, which is a platform for economic dialogue and cooperation in the region.
Premier Li Qiang will attend the opening ceremony of the forum and deliver a keynote speech, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning. He will also hold talks with the visiting leaders and exchange views on bilateral ties and international and regional issues of mutual interest.
The visits by the Singaporean and Malaysian leaders come at a time when China is seeking to strengthen its relations with ASEAN countries amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the geo-political crisis in Europe and the uncertainties in the US financial system. China is also celebrating the 10th anniversary of its comprehensive strategic partnership with Malaysia and the 50th anniversary of its diplomatic relations with Singapore this year.
China and ASEAN are each other’s largest trading partners and have cooperated closely on fighting the pandemic, promoting regional integration and advancing sustainable development. China has also supported ASEAN’s centrality in regional affairs and backed its mediation efforts in Myanmar.
The Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2023, themed “A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation”, will focus on topics such as global governance, Belt and Road cooperation, green development, innovation, public health and people-to-people exchanges.
The forum is expected to send a positive signal of solidarity and cooperation among Asian countries and beyond.