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Interview: Belt, Road initiatives make economic integration physically possible: former Indonesian trade minister

(Xinhua)    13:31, March 29, 2015

BOAO, Hainan, March 29  -- The Belt and Road initiatives proposed by China will make economic integration possible, former Indonesian trade minister Mari Pangestu told Xinhua.

Pangestu, who is attending the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in the southern province of Hainan, said "economic integration will bring benefits to the countries and regions involved."

The Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road will complement existing economic integration efforts in Asia, such as ASEAN-China cooperation, she said.

"It's bigger than just Asian integration," the former minister said. She heralded the projects for joining East Asia with South Asia, but also linking the region with Africa and Europe.

Regarding the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Pangestu believes it will provide the countries involved a larger production network.

Although some concerns have been raised over the possibility that China would dominate the AIIB, Pangestu said that as China was aware of these issues it would address these concerns.

"China needs to show the world that this is our way of opening up the region [...] The initiative is about connectivity and creating shared benefits," Pangestu said, adding China should really "walk the talk".

She also said the multilateral agency needed good governance and transparency,to truly understand and accommodate the needs in Asia.

As a founding member of the AIIB, Pangestu said, Indonesia hopes the bank, along with the Belt and Road initiatives, will bring investment in infrastructure and maritime connectivity.

"We all know that infrastructure is the main challenge for development. That is why we are attracted by the proposal for the maritime silk road," she said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Du Mingming,Bianji)

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