President Hu Jintao will attend the annual Boao Forum for Asia economic conference in a seaside resort town on Hainan Island, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Wu Dawei said yesterday. Mr Wu said the forum would be a highlight of mainland diplomatic events this year and many state leaders would attend. Jiang Xiaosong, a vice-chairman of Boao Investment Holdings, which organises the event, said the forum would be held in mid-April and that more than a dozen state leaders would attend - the highest number yet. They would discuss the world economy and environmental cleanup efforts. Attending the forum would be one of Mr Hu's two main diplomatic missions this spring, Mr Wu said. The other was his much anticipated visit to Japan. When asked if Mr Hu would go to Boao before or after he visits Tokyo, the vice-minister refused to answer, saying the question was 'too tricky'. Largely the initiative of former president Jiang Zemin, the Boao Forum for Asia was set up seven years ago as China's answer to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Chinese leaders use Boao to engage other world leaders and promote economic co-operation. National People's Congress chairman Wu Bangguo attended the Boao Forum last year, and discussed innovation and sustainable development with other Asian leaders.