21 December 2015
With the launch of China-Thailand, China-Laos railway projects in December, the agreement to upgrade Free Trade Area (FTA) between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in November, China’s efforts to enhance interconnectivity in Asia-Pacific have yielded fruitful outcomes in 2015, injecting new dynamism to the integration of the region.
Since China’s “One Belt and One Road” Initiative in 2013, tangible benefits have come out thanks to the joint efforts of China and related countries.
The initiative, also known as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aims at promoting trade, investment, services, infrastructure construction as well as people-to-people exchange. The goal of enhancing interconnectivity not only dovetails with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, but also the APEC Connectivity Blueprint.
… Irene Chan, associate research fellow with S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Nanyang Technological University, said that the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative shows the country has recognized this major challenge and committed to resolving it.
“The initiative has become an important part of regional economic integration as it dovetails not only with the APEC Connectivity Blueprint but also with the sub-regional Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity. On top of that, the Belt portion of the initiative provides the Asia-Pacific region possible links to other regions, particularly the largely untapped Central Asia region.” said Chan.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 23/12/2015