At the time when China’s president Xi Jin Ping visited Kazakhstan and Indonesia in 2013, President Xi proposed the idea of cooperating The “Belt Road and Road” Initiative. On the 28th March, the Chinese government announced the “Vision and Action on Silk Road and Sea Silk Road in the 21st century”, which outlines overall concept framework for China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative. I would like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts and feelings on driving The “Belt and Road” Initiative with all Thai friends.
- The “Belt and Road” Initiative corresponds to the flow of inter-regional cooperation. More than 2,000 years, people who had diligence and courage discovered many trade routes which link Asia, Europe and Africa together, which is “Silk Road”. Countries along the “Silk Road” have learned from each other which create exchange of products, technology, personnel and ideas that propel the business, social and culture and it also stimulates civilization and cooperates to build glorious civilization of humanity. Today, the intension of “Silk Road” is to create peace and cooperate with each other, which corresponds with the current peace and development and should be inherited. The “Belt and Road” connects middle, south, east, southeast and west Asia and Europe together. With the population around 44000 million people, the amount of the economy is approximately 21 trillion US dollars, accounting for 63% and 29% of the world, respectively. This will be useful for regions to exchange and complement each other’s advantage in order to build a supply chain, business chain, and value chain, and improve it and to create new international economic corridors and new transport links that is safe and efficient. The region is moving to a new level, the “Belt and Road” Initiative will consist of infrastructure development and systemic reform and mechanisms. It will be beneficial to improve the commercial environment of countries within and between regions, to make the region a viable free-flowing factor that is organized and effectively allocated. It is a benefit for the development of a landlocked country and a faraway country. It is useful to help reduce trade costs, investment and eliminate trade barriers. Moreover, it is also useful to increase the power of reform and development of various countries. Another thing I would like to emphasize is: China and the country along the route have a good basis for economic cooperation. China is the largest trading partner with the biggest source of investment and it is also the largest export market of many countries along the route in 201 The value of trade between China and countries along the route is over 1.1 trillion US dollars, representing 26% of China’s trade value. Non-financial direct investment from China to the country along the route is more than $ 12 billion, or 12% of China’s direct non-financial investment. The value of Chinese construction projects as a domestic contractor is up to 64,400 million US dollars, accounting for 45% of the total. China has established a large number of offshore trade cooperation in 23 countries along the route. As these areas have become important carriers for the “Belt and Road” trade and economic cooperation, China has proposed to implement a free trade area strategy. China will try to develop free trade relations with the countries that wish to follow the route to make economic integration, free trade and investment and open market to each other with a higher level.
- The “Belt and Road” Initiative is an open economic cooperation initiative. One may be concerned about the “Belt and Road” Initiative proposed by the Chinese side and will it become a geopolitical geo-political instrument of China? I assure you that this concern is not really needed. The “Belt and Road” Initiative does not only belong to China, but it is a cooperation of many countries that share benefits together. Driving the “Belt and Road” Initiative will help stimulate regional economic cooperation and the economic prosperity of the countries along the route to strengthen the exchange and learn each other between the different civilizations to promote peace and development of the world. It is a great mission to bringing happiness to people around the world. The “Belt and Road” Initiative will be based on economic fundamentals and adhere the exchange of persons and culture is a key support, insisting on not interfering with the internal affairs of a regional country and not seeking dominance in regional and influential activities. The “Belt and Road” will not replace the existing regional cooperation initiatives or mechanisms but it will drive to achieve the connection of the strategy development and complement each other’s advantages for countries along the route, on an existing basis. The Chinese side will follow the principles of joint development to share and promote consultation with countries along the route, brainstorm and use talents to facilitate a number of essential and mutually agreed collaborative projects to the benefit of people of different countries along the route.
- The “Belt and Road” Initiative is not far away from Thailand. Thailand has been a major station on the “Silk Road” since ancient times. For the 21st Century Silk Road, Thailand is an access point for ASEAN by land and sea and a natural hub for the huge ASEAN market with over 600 million inhabitants. Infrastructures such as highways, railways, airlines, ports, communication, electricity, etc. are quite complete. There is great potential for the development of the 21st Century Sea Silk Road. In the long run, China and Thailand have helped and supported each other. They have progressed together in their own development process. I know that Thailand is dedicated to developing more complete infrastructure and develop a network of railways and national highways, build and expand ports and add new flights to elevate itself as a hub of connectivity in this region. The development of infrastructure linkages is at the top level for the development of the “Belt and Road” Initiative. It expresses the friendship and foresight to jointly develop the 21st Century Sea Silk Road in both countries. Not only will Thailand become a major transportation hub in the region, it will also play an exemplary role in promoting regional connectivity and the development of the Pan-Asia rail network. Today, more than 60 countries and international organizations, including Thailand, positively join the “Belt and Road” Initiative. The preparation for the establishment of a bank investment in the Asian infrastructure has progressed concretely. The Silk Road Fund has started smoothly. The infrastructure link, which includes the Chinese-Thai railway project, has advanced steadily. These Early Harvests reflect the broad future of the “Belt and Road” Initiative. When the countries along the route join together and progress in the same direction, we will be able to create the new glory of The “Belt and Road” Initiative certainly for the people of different countries along the route including the people of China and the people of Thailand to share the benefits of the development of The “Belt and Road” Initiative.