China-ASEAN ties expected to be closer under BRI-MPAC: Cambodian scholars

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-02 10:01:15|Editor: Liu
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PHNOM PENH, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- China-ASEAN relations are expected to be closer under the dovetailing between the China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC), Cambodian prominent scholars said.

The 35th ASEAN Summit and related meetings will take place from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 in Bangkok, capital of Thailand. ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Mey Kalyan, chairman of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, said weak connectivity has been identified as one of the main obstacles that hampers the development of ASEAN region.

"Joining hands between the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity and the BRI, which generally possesses rich financial and technical assets, is definitely a positive factor that will expedite the implementation of infrastructure development and translate the plan into reality sooner," he told Xinhua.

"All these will foster inclusive economic development in the region, and as a result, will certainly make people more prosperous," he said.

Kalyan said China's role in supporting ASEAN's development has been instrumental and useful, in particular for less developed countries like Cambodia.

"In addition to infrastructure development and trade promotion, education and science as well as technology are the areas that China can contribute significantly," he said.

Chheang Vannarith, president of the Asian Vision Institute, said the move will contribute to the connectivity and communication between China and ASEAN.

"It's necessary to connect the BRI with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity as these two initiatives are complementary," he told Xinhua. "Resource allocation would be better and greater positive impacts would be generated."

Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said China is a key partner for ASEAN in upholding peace and stability and in promoting development and prosperity in the region.

"The two sides have good cooperation in various fields, which have helped promote sound development of ASEAN-China strategic partnership and make greater contribution to upholding peace, stability and prosperity in the region," he told Xinhua.

He said great strides forward have been made when it comes to the cooperation between China and ASEAN.

"The two sides have been jointly promoting the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and shaping rules for the region," he said.

Matthews said the BRI has accelerated the pace of economic development in the region and beyond, and infrastructure development and connectivity have opened a new chapter of economic and human resources development in the region.

"In my view, there is still room for further cooperation and exploration between China-ASEAN in the areas of education, human resources development, transfer of technology, medical science and agriculture sector, etc.," he said.

"These are the areas where both sides can work more closely and strategically for the mutual benefits of the people of both sides."