More cities in China are set to host major international diplomatic conferences, with three of the four events to be held in the country this year located outside Beijing.
Boao, a coastal town in the southernmost province of Hainan, has provided a permanent venue for the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia since 2001. Meanwhile, senior officials have highlighted this year’s meeting, which will be held next month, as the first major diplomatic event to be hosted by China this year.
Qingdao, a coastal city in the eastern province of Shandong, is home to one of the world’s busiest ports, and in June it will for the first time host a high-level multilateral event－the Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Meanwhile, after hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s Economic Leaders’ Meeting in 2001 and the World Expo in 2010, Shanghai, in East China, will host the first China International Import Expo in November.
Selecting localities as venues for major international events has “become a constant choice”, said Vice-Foreign Minister Li Baodong, a veteran diplomat in charge of multilateral diplomacy.
China’s diplomacy also involves the public, as the country seeks to make a greater contribution to global development and world peace, he added.
Li noted that a growing number of Chinese are traveling abroad or conducting exchanges in areas such as academic research.
“So, diplomacy is not just a mission for the diplomatic authorities or academic institutions. Every Chinese person has a duty to boost publicity for the country,” he said.
China is also reinforcing publicity overseas as it sends official delegations to campaign for the country to be chosen as the host of major events, such as the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
The first stop of the global road show for the expo was in Spain on Jan 19, where China’s ambassador to the country and officials from the Ministry of Commerce spoke to their Spanish counterparts and businesspeople about the highlights of, and favorable conditions for, the event.
Later, the road show moved on to countries on various continents, such as Singapore, Tajikistan, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Gabon and Canada.
“In Belgium, great interest was displayed by the government, business circles and individuals,” said Qu Xing, ambassador to Belgium.
The Belgian government has assigned a department to oversee liaisons in this regard, a number of major business councils and associations have held campaigns, and businesses have asked how they can take part in the expo, he added.
He advised them that rather than concentrating on imports and exports, the Shanghai expo will focus solely on imports, adding that the event will provide a great opportunity for those looking for greater mutually beneficial cooperation with China, and will also allow the Chinese market to gain better knowledge of their goods.