NANNING, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) — The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) provides momentum for regional economic integration and connectivity, helping China and ASEAN forge a closer community of shared future, said Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Hor Nam Hong.
Hor made the remarks Saturday at the opening ceremony of the 16th China-ASEAN Expo themed “Building the Belt & Road, Realizing Our Vision for a Community of Shared Future.”
The deputy vice prime minister envisioned that the China-ASEAN strategic partnership and the BRI will further deepen the cooperation between the two sides in the joint pursuit of shared prosperity.
Statistics show that China has signed cooperation agreements with more than 130 countries across the globe and 30 international organizations on jointly building the Belt and Road, benefiting people of the involved nations.
Highlighting regional economic cooperation, this year’s China-ASEAN expo is expected to lift the practical and comprehensive cooperation between China, ASEAN and other countries participating in the BRI to new heights.
The expo has served as a crucial platform for promoting investment and trade in Asia over the past 16 years, setting an example of friendly cooperation between China and ASEAN, said Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, special envoy of the Indonesian president and coordinating minister for maritime affairs.
As the Country of Honor for this year’s expo, Indonesia will showcase its high-quality products from more than 100 Indonesian enterprises.
Speaking highly of the BRI, Luhut said cooperation under the China-proposed initiative will boost infrastructure construction and trade among members of ASEAN to facilitate the building of the ASEAN Community.
To push China-ASEAN ties to new heights, both sides are making joint efforts in constructing the Belt and Road and implementing the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 under the guidance of the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030.
The BRI accelerates regional connectivity and improves people’s livelihoods, said Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit, adding that Thailand had formulated plans to contribute to the completion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, alleviate volatility of the global economy and trade, and inject momentum into sustainable development.
Two-way investment between China and ASEAN countries grew robustly to reach 230 billion U.S. dollars in the first eight months of this year, with the establishment of 25 economic and trade cooperation zones creating over 100,000 jobs.
Meanwhile, the cooperation between China and ASEAN in fields including international production capacity, the digital economy and e-commerce is also leaping forward.
Hailing the achievements of cooperation under the BRI, Lao Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone said Laos will take an active role in building the Belt and Road.
Citing the China-Laos railway, the largest cooperation project between the two sides so far, Sonexay said it will promote regional peace, prosperity and sustainable development.
Apart from prospering bilateral trade and investment, recent years have seen the deepening of China-ASEAN cooperation in various other fields. ASEAN has become the largest destination for Chinese tourists, with the number of personal exchanges hitting 57 million in 2018 and nearly 4,000 flights traveling between both sides every week.
Holding similar viewpoints, Myanmar’s Vice President U Myint Swe said the BRI provides opportunities for developing trade and cross-border exchanges and bridging infrastructure gaps.
Looking forward to shared prosperity, Jurin said Thailand, as well as ASEAN, will collaborate with China to strive for sustainable development.