In history and reality, multilateralism has been the correct choice
Yao Yao
Multilateralism has topped the agenda at the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, even though the decades-old global governance system has faced many challenges, especially unilateralism, in recent years. 
Convened in Boao, south China's Hainan Province, the forum is set to see more than 2,000 participants from 60 countries and regions coming to exchange their views and proposals under the theme of "Shared Future, Concerted Action, Common Development" from March 26 to 29.
Sustained international peace, stability and prosperity cannot be achieved without the widely-accepted global governance system, which was established years after the end of World War II. 
The two world wars in the first half of 20th century made the once wealthy and strong Europe give way to the Soviet Union and the United States, two super powers in the century's latter half. But it's during the conflicts and confrontations between the two large dominators on the world stage that many multilateral organizations developed from zero and has been gradually followed by many countries. 
For example, beginning from the Schuman Declaration in 1950, European Union has seen the number of its members increase from two to 28. Based on years of growth, the multi-country group boasts itself the world's largest economic entity.
Besides, there are also other multilateral organizations including the United Nations, World Trade Organization, World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which provide platforms for cooperation and development between the countries in the post-World War II period. 
However, the increasingly developed and changed world poses challenges to the globalization-friendly multilateral system. 
In recent years, trade protectionism, isolationism and populism often became headlines of media outlets worldwide amid the staggering economic recovery and weak economic growth after the latest 2008 financial and economic crisis.
A logo is pictured outside the World Trade Organization headquarters next to a red traffic light in Geneva, October 2, 2018. /VCG Photo

A logo is pictured outside the World Trade Organization headquarters next to a red traffic light in Geneva, October 2, 2018. /VCG Photo

Besides for U.S. President Donald Trump, who is known for his unilateral withdrawal from one international organization after another and imposing tariffs on friends and adversaries alike, the EU, one of the largest players of the multilateral mechanism, not only has to deal with Brexit, but also its member countries struggling with refugee problems and social turmoil caused by the increasing wealth gap. 
Indeed, refugees are seeing less and less chance of entering Italy due to the country's anti-migrant policies and France is troubled with the 'yellow vest' movement, often held at weekends and characterized with burning and violent protests.
However, it's easy to see that multilateralism still has a role nowadays. China is undoubtedly committed to safeguarding multilateral mechanism, which can be seen from the prospering Belt and Road Initiative launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013 and China's active participation in multilateral activities including APEC and Boao Forum for Asia. 
During President Xi's recent visit to Italy, the country became the first G7 country to join the Belt and Road Initiative. And there are media reports that the Initiative is expected to suggest other G7 countries should join.
This is fairly common. Experts agree that in the deeply interconnected modern world, we need rules and institutions to govern markets and economic activity more than ever. 
"Of course, the U.S. is far from united in its opposition to multilateralism, and the country has so much to gain from openness and cooperation that it may embraces its previous role again within a few years," wrote Kemal Dervis, a senior fellow with the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings, in an opinion piece published at Project Syndicate.
No matter whether the U.S. will re-embrace multilateralism, what we can see is many rounds of U.S.-China trade talks have been arranged in a bid to avoid the loss-loss situation instead of U.S.'s announcement of new rounds of tariffs on Chinese goods. 
In other words, national interests make countries favor multilateralism. "In the current situation, Boao Forum for Asia 2019 has its task to unite its participants to face challenges, persist in multilateralism and globalization, so that people can enjoy more benefits," said Li Baodong, secretary-general of the Boao Forum for Asia, at a news conference at the event on Tuesday.