Wen: China to speed up transport links with SE Asia

15:56, April 30, 2011      

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China will speed up the development of transport connections with Southeast Asia, building roads, telecommunication and power links as it seeks to boost trade, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Saturday.

Wen, speaking in Jakarta during a two-day visit to Indonesia, said China would give financial support through credit aid and investment, to provide for better exchange of commodities, capital and people.

"In the next 10 years we will speed up the inauguration of land transport routes between China and ASEAN," said Wen in a speech in Jakarta, adding it will also provide funds for air and sea transport. "Today we witness the rise of Asia."

He said China would unconditionally help underdeveloped countries in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

ASEAN has sought to highlight the potential for greater connections between its frontier markets and Asia's biggest economic power, with the group's foreign ministers heading on an unconventional road trip in January from Thailand to China.

Indonesia is seeking $100 billion of private investment to develop its own dilapidated infrastructure, seen as a hurdle to attracting foreign firms and to gaining a sovereign investment grade rating that would cut government borrowing costs and put it on a par with BRIC nations such as China and Brazil.

Wen promised Indonesia $9 billion worth of loans for infrastructure on Friday, after meeting his Indonesian counterpart, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

ASEAN's plan to link new and existing rail, road and sea routes together with China and allow better travel within a free trade area of 1.9 billion people is ambitious.

But analysts say there is huge trade potential between ASEAN and China and better links could encourage Japan and South Korea to forge a closer relationship with ASEAN. Japan has already pledged more than $50 billion in infrastructure investment.

Source: Xinhua
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