Good relations crucial to maritime silk road: Yang Jian
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
CHINA will not let territorial disputes hamper economic cooperation with ASEAN countries, said the Chinese ambassador to Brunei Darussalam.
Speaking to the media recently, Yang Jian said good relations with Southeast Asian nations were crucial to China’s ambitious plan to revive a trade route running from China through Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean to Europe, dubbed the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road”.
Last November, China also set up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to finance regional infrastructure projects, aimed at vastly improving connectivity and trade between Asia and Europe.
Brunei, along with the nine other ASEAN states, signed on as one of the founding members of the $100 billion bank during the APEC Summit held in Beijing last year.
“Brunei was very smart, ASEAN was very smart to make a collective decision to join AIIB,” said Yang. “Even though we have some difficulties with a few ASEAN countries they are all members of AIIB.”
Beijing is embroiled in territorial disputes with four ASEAN countries – the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei – over sovereignty in the South China Sea. The sea is home to valuable energy and fishing reserves, as well as key international shipping lanes.
“It has been our policy that we should not let disputes affect our cooperation or overall relations,” said the ambassador.
“Although we do not exclude countries which we do not have that good relations from AIIB, but to be frank, if we enjoy good relations, the cooperation will be smoother. Because if you do not have enough trust of course that will make the cooperation process more difficult.”
Yang said that US$730 billion worth of investment into infrastructure was required by 2020, in order to keep Asian economies expanding.
“The existing international financial institutions are far from satisfying such enormous demand,” she said, adding that AIIB has grown from 21 to 57 prospective members since November.
“With regard to financial integration, we would like to deepen our financial cooperation with other countries, and provide strong financial support for the Initiative through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), BRICS New Development Bank, the Silk Road Fund and other financial platforms.”
The Brunei Times