ASEAN officials voice support for Belt and Road
The Lane Xang passenger train of the China-Laos Railway runs past a maintenance center in Luang Prabang, Laos, March 30, 2023. (Photo by Zhou Xing/Xinhua)
NANNING, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- ASEAN officials attending the 20th China-ASEAN Expo on Sunday called for continued cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), praising its contributions to the regional economy and regional cooperation.
Laotian Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone said that Laos will maintain close cooperation with other members of ASEAN and China, and contribute to the BRI's implementation.
Sonexay made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 20th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, the capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The prime minister said that cooperation between the two countries on infrastructure is producing practical results. He commended the China-Laos Railway for its creation of jobs, its enhancing of personnel exchanges and its promotion of cooperation between China, Laos and other ASEAN countries.
At the same event, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said that the BRI has been instrumental in solidifying regional relations, citing the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park as an exemplary BRI project.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the BRI and the 20th anniversary of the first China-ASEAN Expo. Over the past decade, the BRI has brought about an infrastructure boom in ASEAN countries, with the China-Laos Railway, the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway and Malaysia's Kuantan Port among its flagship projects.
At the expo, officials and businesspeople praised BRI projects for facilitating trade, investment and cooperation in the region, and for spurring the region's economic recovery after the pandemic.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said that Vietnam supports efforts to advance Belt and Road connectivity to achieve common prosperity.
Pham Minh Chinh spoke highly of China for playing its role as a responsible major country and for acting as a stabilizer of the regional economy. "ASEAN countries, including Vietnam, have always appreciated and highly valued China's important contribution to cooperation and common prosperity in the region," he said.
Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai said that Thailand appreciates China's efforts to promote the region's sustainable development.
Thailand's development policies align with the BRI in their aim of achieving sustainable and balanced growth, he said, noting that he expects to see expanded cooperation between China and Thailand in various fields.
Over the decade since the BRI was launched, China has signed more than 200 cooperation documents with over 150 countries and more than 30 international organizations, resulting in more than 3,000 cooperation projects, official statistics show.