Interview: China's Belt and Road, China-ASEAN ties on agenda at WEF on ASEAN in Cambodia: official

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-09 20:04:31|Editor: Mengjie
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PHNOM PENH, May 9 (Xinhua) -- China's Belt and Road Initiative and the rising China-ASEAN relations will be among scheduled talks to be held at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN from May 10 to 12 in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, a WEF's senior official said on Monday.

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 and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.

To back the initiative, China has established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund.

Justin Wood, head of the Asia Pacific at the World Economic Forum, said the Belt and Road Initiative would be one of the important topics discussed at the upcoming forum with a presentation to be given by AIIB President Jin Liqun.

He said that the initiative would provide enormous benefits to ASEAN member states that needs capital for connectivity infrastructure development.

"As we all know, the AIIB has around 100 billion U.S. dollars to invest, and that money is to go into building critical infrastructure such as ports, roads, railways, and power stations in countries involved in the Belt and Road," he told Xinhua in an interview.

"For ASEAN, it's particularly significant because the investments needed to continue the region's growth is huge and the region does have enough money," he said.

According to Wood, it was estimated that some 20,000 people across ASEAN have moved from countrysides to cities every day and the trend was projected to continue for another 10 years, so ASEAN countries needed a large amount of capital to invest in houses, roads, power stations, schools and hospitals to support such rapid urbanization.

"I think that China's Belt and Road Initiative can play an important part in funding and building that infrastructure," he said.

Wood said that the upcoming forum would bring together Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith as well as more than 700 senior officials, business executives, academics and civil society representatives.

He said the forum would also touch on the relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

China is currently the biggest trading partner of most of the ASEAN member states, he said, adding that the forum would help further deepen China-ASEAN relations, particularly in economics, trade, investment and tourism.