China keen to bolster Brunei infra: envoy
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
CHINA is keen to bolster Brunei’s infrastructure through an ambitious new plan to improve connectivity across Asia.
Chinese Ambassador Yang Jian said that Chinese companies are eager to invest in building up Brunei’s infrastructure through the development of highways, Muara Port and the Temburong Bridge project.
“We are trying to help infrastructure building so we can upgrade the connectivity here,” she said in an interview yesterday.
The envoy said four Chinese companies, including the China Railway Construction Corporation Limited, are involved in the bidding for the next phase of the Temburong Bridge project – a 30-kilometre viaduct spanning the Brunei Bay.
The construction of the $1.6 billion bridge is divided into five phases, with the tender for the first phase awarded to Korean firm Daelim Industrial Co Ltd and local company Swee Sdn Bhd.
“Several Chinese companies are bidding on the project… At the moment the competition is between Chinese companies and Korean companies,” she said.
China has already sunk billions of dollars into local projects aimed at economic diversification, including the Hengyi oil refinery and Huludao Steel Pipe Factory.
Yang added that during a recent visit from an official delegation of the Guangxi province, officials discussed Chinese investment into the upgrading and privatisation of Muara Port.
“Brunei is trying to attract foreign investment for the upgrading and franchising of the port, so this is one of the possibilities we discussed,” she said.
Last September, officials from the Sultanate and the Guangxi Beibu Gulf Port also discussed the possibility of establishing a direct shipping route between the port city of Qinzhou and Bandar Seri Begawan in order to slash shipping time and transport costs.
The direct supply chain is aimed at boosting trade and investments between the two countries via a link dubbed the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor. The shipping link would be part of a larger Chinese-backed connectivity plan, called the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road”, intended to revive a trade route running from China through Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean to Europe.
“Brunei is an integral part for the building of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The building of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road matches very well with Brunei’s economic diversification strategy,” said Yang.
The Brunei Times