CANBERRA, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Penny Wong, the Opposition's foreign affairs spokesperson, on Tuesday urged the Australian government to embrace China's Belt and Road Initiative in times of increasing protectionism and global uncertainty.
As she prepares to embark on a visit to both New Delhi and Beijing in an attempt to foster "greater bilateral cooperation" between Australia and emerging Asian economies, Wong, an Australian senator, penned an opinion piece for News Corp, pointing to China's Belt and Road Initiative as something which would provide "valuable opportunities" for Australia.
"As trade is increasingly treated with disdain and protectionism rises, we must find better ways to work with (India and China) to ensure open trading systems remain in place so new technologies, automation and artificial intelligence benefit our citizens," she wrote in The Australian newspaper on Tuesday.
"China's Belt and Road Initiative provides valuable opportunities for bilateral and multilateral cooperation. These have to be realized case by case to ensure mutual benefits are delivered. Buzzwords such as agility and innovation are meaningless unless we put substance behind them."
The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, known as the Belt and Road Initiative, was proposed by China in 2013 with the aim of building a trade, investment and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa, along the ancient trade routes.
Wong said the Belt and Road Initiative brings exciting opportunities for Australian businesses, and urged the government not to hesitate embracing the initiative as it did with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
"Australian companies are in the box seat to take advantage of China's willingness to invest tranches of its enormous national savings pool in regional enterprises that broaden the material well-being of its citizens and ours," she wrote.