At this year's Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), China has clearly demonstrated its commitment to dialogue, openness, and cooperation with other countries, said John and Doris Naisbitt, both prominent authors and speakers who had attended the conference.
Chinese President Xi Jinping's keynote speech at the forum had made a positive impression on the couple, who said President Xi is championing open and free markets, environmental considerations and globalization.
"It was a speech in very conciliatory tone. It was putting China in the position that used to be claimed by the U.S., to be the champion of globalization," the couple said in an email interview with Xinhua.
The Naisbitts were among the distinguished participants at the forum. John, the author of bestseller "Megatrends", used to serve as assistant secretary of education to U.S. President John Kennedy and was later special assistant to Lyndon Johnson, another U.S. ex-president. The couple have co-authored numerous books, addressed many governments and policy-making institutions, and spoken engagements around the world, for example this year's BFA.
The BFA is committed to promoting regional economic integration as well as bringing Asian countries closer to their development goals, and sometimes referred to as the "Asian Davos."
The Naisbitts see both forums as complementing each other, with the BFA being centered on and primarily serving the interests of Asia.
"In the mid-term future, Davos and Boao could and should find common ground," the Naisbitts said.
The couple also believed the BFA's greatest achievements so far are "the solidarity the forum created." The theme for this year's BFA annual conference is "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
"Whether it is taking place on small or large scale, to meet, discuss and exchange success and challenges with like-minded people and nations is an important factor on the path to reaching a goal. It is already a great achievement to raise a feeling of community and solidarity, even if it is only on a few matters," they said.
As such, the forum plays a role in countering the current global trend of isolationism and protectionism. "Protectionism and isolation are in contradiction to the creation of any forum," the Naisbitts said. "To gather is the opposite of to isolate. That by itself explains the role such large conferences have."
Regarding this year's forum in particular, the Naisbitts believed that China is living up to the theme of this year's forum by taking action that is not based on short-term benefits, but on long-term strategic planning.
"In our 2015 book we described a 'Global Game' in which China will take the lead in supporting economic growth of emerging economies around the globe," they said, adding that China has laid the foundation for that role years ago. "Many African and South American nations have strongly benefited from Chinese investments."
While China is continuing to open itself up to the wider world, the couple commented on the threat of a trade war between China and the United States looming over this year's BFA.
"It is a very naive point of view that there is a zero-sum trade game between China and the U.S. Our economies are much too much integrated to hurt just one target without damaging others," especially one's own country. "America first versus China first would end in a loss for most,"they said.
President Xi's pledge at the forum of a further opening-up on China's part was welcome news.
"The promise of a 'new phase of opening-up,' of making broader commitments to further liberalize China's economy, is well received," they said, looking forward to their implementation.