In­fra­struc­ture helps re­gional in­te­gra­tion

Over­all in­vest­ment needed for projects may reach $3.26 tril­lion

China Daily (USA) - - ECONOMY - ByWANG YIQING wangy­iqing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

In­fra­struc­ture con­nec­tiv­ity is a fo­cus of both the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and the G20 Lead­ers Sum­mit be­cause of its sig­nif­i­cance for boost­ing eco­nomic growth and pro­mot­ing pros­per­ity.

In the com­mu­niqué is­sued af­ter the G20 Fi­nance Min­is­ters and Cen­tral Bank Gov­er­nors Meet­ing held in Chengdu, Sichuan prov­ince on July 23-24, a global in­fra­struc­ture con­nec­tiv­ity al­liance was planned to be launched to en­hance the syn­ergy and co­op­er­a­tion among var­i­ous in­fra­struc­ture con­nec­tiv­ity pro­grams in a holis­tic way.

As the com­mu­niqué said, greater in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity is a defin­ing de­mand of the 21st cen­tury global econ­omy and the key to pro­mot­ing sus­tain­able devel­op­ment and shared pros­per­ity.

A core aim of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is to achieve con­nec­tiv­ity in five as­pects, in­clud­ing pol­icy, in­fra­struc­ture, trade, fi­nanc­ing and peo­ples.

In­fra­struc­ture con­nec­tiv­ity is a pri­or­ity area for the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, be­cause it di­rectly re­lates to trade costs and so will in­flu­ence a re­gion’s trade level.

The devel­op­ment of many coun­tries along the Belt and Road routes is re­stricted by their un­der­de­vel­oped in­fra­struc­ture due to geo­graphic fac­tors and their low fi­nanc­ing ca­pac­ity. That means there is an ur­gent de­mand for in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion in these coun­tries, as well as tremen­dous mar­ket po­ten­tial to be tapped by im­prov­ing the in­fra­struc­ture con­nec­tiv­ity along the Belt and Road.

The Chi­nese con­sul­tancy com­pany SWS Re­search Co. es­ti­mated in a re­port on the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive that the over­all in­vest­ment needed for in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion in core coun­tries along the Belt and Road is about $3.26 tril­lion.

“Since the launch of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive by July 2016, the to­tal value of the con­tract projects that China has signed with coun­tries along the routes is $279 bil­lion,” said Shen Danyang, a Min­istry of Com­merce spokesman, at a me­dia brief­ing on Aug 17.

A se­ries of in­fra­struc­ture projects in coun­tries along the Shaukat Aziz routes, mainly ports, rail­ways, high­ways, air­ports and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion net­works, have been launched re­cently.

The China-Pakistan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor, which has been called “the first move­ment of the sym­phony of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive” by Wang Yi, China’s for­eign min­is­ter, is the demon­stra­tion project of the six eco­nomic cor­ri­dors of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and the first mile­stone in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ini­tia­tive.

“Con­nec­tiv­ity, link­age and in­ter­de­pen­dence be­tween China and Pakistan will all in­crease through the ini­tia­tive,” said Shaukat Aziz, for­mer prime min­is­ter of Pakistan, in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with China Daily in July.

Mean­while, China’s tech­no­log­i­cal and man­age­ment ad­van­tage in trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, es­pe­cially high-speed rail­ways, can ef­fec­tively meet de­mands of the coun­tries along the routes.

Con­struc­tion of the China- Thai­land rail­way within the Trans-Asia Rail­way net­work and Jakarta-Ban­dung highspeed rail­way in In­done­sia have suc­ces­sively started, and a batch of high­ways in coun­tries along the routes have also been launched. A com­pre­hen­sive re­gional traf­fic in­te­gra­tion net­work is grad­u­ally form­ing shape.

Chu Yin, a re­searcher on the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive at the Univer­sity of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, states that there are three ma­jor re­gions for in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion along the Belt and Road routes, namely South­east Asia, SouthCen­tral Asia and Africa.

“In­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion in these ar­eas along the routes will be de­ci­sive in pro­mot­ing re­gional in­te­gra­tion,” Chu said.

Con­nec­tiv­ity, link­age and in­ter­de­pen­dence ... will all in­crease through the ini­tia­tive. for­mer prime min­is­ter of Pakistan

XIN­HUA

Two In­done­sian women pose for a photo in front of a model of China’s high-speed train in Walini, West Java prov­ince, on Jan 21, 2016 to mark the launch of the Jakarta-Ban­dung high-speed rail­way project.

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