Belt and Road Initiative leads to mutual interests developing: former Australian minister

The development of the Belt and Road Initiative is an example of how successful economies can assist countries that are not strong enough economically to improve their situation much, Andrew Robb, a former Australian federal minister has said.

Robb, former minister for trade and investment, is now an advisory board member of Australia-China Belt and Road Initiative, an Australian government-supported policy institute.

"If you help a hundred countries develop more thoroughly and quickly and effectively than they otherwise would have, of course it's going to lead to mutual interests developing and that is a common phenomenon," Robb told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa on and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes. It comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

"It is okay in strategic sense that invariably the countries that have been controlling things globally will be reluctant to share the responsibility, it's human nature. But everyone in the region, the United States, Australia, other developed countries, have to accept that what has been happening (in China) is a good thing. Hundreds of millions of people coming out of poverty."

Robb said that there are always issues accompanying with change, but the change that the world is experiencing now is in the end very constructive and "we have to be realistic and applaud the success of China, the increasing success of India."

He noted that other countries are also benefiting, as Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia are also performing well. "That's a great thing for the region and for mankind," he said.

Robb said countries should seek to cooperate with each other and not be frustrated.

"You can't contain a development like this. Those people who preach trying to contain China, to me, are futile. It's not going to happen," he said, adding, "It's also counterproductive because it is just trying to stop in many cases good things from happening and they won't be able to stop it, it's counterproductive."

"I do feel that it's very important that we all work together as a region to try and make the most of what we all bring to the table."

Robb said there are many things that China and Australia have got in common such as the market system. Countries should focus on what they've got in common and reassure one another and show mutual respect.

"We're going to accept the right of every country to run its affairs as it sees fit. If we show that mutual respect, then things are more likely to be successful. And the best way to develop mutual respect is to engage heavily with one another."

Editor: liuyue