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"Belt and Road" has potential to facilitate massive infrastructure across Southeast Asia

(Xinhua)    20:17, June 02, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 -- The Belt and Road Initiative has the potential to facilitate massive infrastructure development across Southeast Asia, experts and policy makers said here on Thursday.

The initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was among the topics discussed on the regional economic architectures during the World Economic Forum on ASEAN, the political and economic organization of 10 Southeast Asian nations.

George Yeo, a visiting scholar at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of National University of Singapore, said China's infrastructure is much better developed than its neighbors, like "water pressure is building up and is just waiting to spill on to its neighbors."

"China will be integrating its neighbors into ever-widening circles because of the sheer size and dynamism of its economy," said the Singapore former foreign minister.

Apiradi Tantraporn, Thailand's commerce minister, said her country is building up connectivity not only within ASEAN but with other neighbors, including the route starting from Singapore to Laos and China's southwestern Yunnan province through Thailand, which is part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

For his part, Mustapa Mohamed, Malaysia's International Trade and Industry Minister pointed out that it was an important point for both countries when Malaysia became the first ASEAN member to establish diplomatic ties with China in 1974.

Malaysia has seen increasing investment from China in recent years on the basis of strong trade relations, he said.

In 2015, China remains Malaysia's largest trading partner for the 7th consecutive year, and Malaysia remains China's largest trading partner in Southeast Asia. Non-financial investment by Chinese companies in Malaysia recorded an impressing 237-percent increase to 410 million U.S. dollars in 2015, according to China's statistics.

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

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