The upcoming Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) will be a good opportunity to seek coexistence and co-prosperity in Asia as it increases mutual understanding and highlights the need for reform and opening-up, a South Korean scholar said.[Special coverage]
"If a country opens up, it inevitably goes with reform," said Sung Nak-in, president of the prestigious Seoul National University in South Korea's capital Seoul, told Xinhua Thursday.
Asia has had difficulty in integrating for several reasons, such as different religions and the modern history of being intruded by the West and the Imperial Japan, said Sung who will attend the forum as a representing scholar of his country.
"Big or small, every country has a reason to exist. Only through mutual understanding, and through dialogue and cooperation, a tragic, terrible disaster can be eliminated in global village. This is the reason why reform and opening-up need to exist," said the scholar.
The 18th round of annual BFA conference is scheduled for April 8-11 in Boao, a coastal town in China's southern island province of Hainan, under the theme of "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
The four-day event, with more than 2,000 guests to attend, includes some 60 sessions under four key topics: "Globalization & the Belt and Road Initiative," "An open Asia," "Innovation" and "Reform."
According to Sung, Asia has been a closed region because of the tragic history of invasions and religious differences. Frequent meetings and dialogues can improve mutual understanding and give an opportunity to find out something in common among Asian nations.
"Despite the differences, we cannot sit idle and do nothing ... We have to meet frequently and try to find something. And then the day will come that we can seek a common Asian value together," said the scholar.
The 21th century, Sung said, ushered in a new era of solidarity from the era of liberty in the 19th century and equality in 20th century, raising the need to pursue a common value and a common good in the Asian community.
The BFA is one of the good platforms to figure out the common Asian value, which can increase solidarity in Asia, said Sung who noted that Asia can make clear its existence through integration.
Globalization and the Belt and Road Initiative will be discussed at this year's BFA, a continuation of topics addressed at the 2017 conference. To strengthen solidarity, Asia needs to open up and reform while continuing globalization.
"Globalization has been an irreversible wave for the entire humanity for the past decades ... But it should not be a neo-liberalistic one resembling the survival of the fittest in nature. It should protect the weak and the minor going together with them," said Sung.