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We are witnessing major changes unfolding in our world, something unseen in a century. The international landscape and system are going through profound transition, while the global governance system is undergoing profound changes. Positive changes are taking place in terms of the balance of power. The world economic barycenter has accelerated its eastward shift. A new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation is reshaping the world.

Great changes bring unprecedented opportunities, accompanied by risks to be reckoned with. Coincident with the increasingly interconnected and interdependent foreign relations, globalization is encountering strong resistance, i.e., unilateralism, protectionism and trade frictions. The world economy is facing great instability and uncertainty. The growth momentum is still insufficient and the productivity growth has stagnated. The polarization of wealth and the regional imbalances are aggravated. Non-traditional threats such as terrorism, cyber security, climate change, illegal migration, human trafficking, refugees caused by armed conflicts, and humanitarian disasters are creeping up around the globe. The outbreak of COVID-19 has plunged the mankind into the worst economic recession since the end of World War II in an unexpected way. For the first time in history, all major economic sectors have been hit hard in the meantime. The operation of global industrial chain and supply chains has been disrupted, while trade and investment have been caught in continued downturn.

Asia is increasingly linked to the world economy. Uncertainties and instability in the world economy also pose severe challenges to Asia. Although Asia is one of the most dynamic and promising regions in the world, it has not a few developing and underdeveloped countries which suffer from poverty and hunger, shortage of clean water, basic sanitation, health care and education, growing gap of wealth and regional development, and aggravated gender discrimination. Due to differences in history, culture, religion, social system and developmental stage, it is of extreme complexity and diversity among Asian countries. Non-traditional threats and challenges have posed many risks and uncertainties on Asia’s sustainable development.

In the era of great changes, opportunities and risks coexist, and development and security are two wings in one body. As President Xi Jinping pointed out, “Security is the premise of development, and development is the guarantee of security.” To promote innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, the premise lies in national security and social stability. Without security and stability, we have no position to handle matters. Development is the basis and key to solving all problems, and what we should depend on to solve major problems and prevent and defuse risks and hidden troubles. To balance development and security is a key and urgent task under the circumstances of great changes.

China, the host country of the Forum, is entering a new stage of development. In the process of implementing new development philosophy and fostering new development paradigms, China has been promoting common progress of both security and development in a coordinated manner, striving to achieve higher-quality, more efficient, more equitable, more sustainable and more secure development.

It is against this background that the Boao Forum for Asia has launched the Global Economic Development and Security Forum (GEDS) with the goal of building the GEDS into a major international forum and dialogue platform for political and business leaders to discuss, coordinate and balance economic development and security. The forum will make an in-depth analysis of risks, weaknesses, instability and uncertainties in globalization and the economic development of countries, probe into such economic and non-traditional security issues as climate security, food security, financial security, energy security, network security, supply chain security, employment security, ecological security, cultural security, public health, intellectual property protection, data security and privacy protection, disaster reduction and prevention, post-disaster reconstruction, nuclear safety, marine safety, and the polar and outer space security, and propose forward-looking and leading countermeasures and ideas to provide solutions for the sustainable development of Asia, the world and the mankind.

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