SCIO press conference on white paper 'The Belt and Road Initiative: A Key Pillar of the Global Community of Shared Future'

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Nanfang Daily, Nanfang Plus:

Since the initiation of the BRI, a large number of infrastructure connectivity projects have been implemented. Could you provide an update on the present status of the facility connectivity? Additionally, what impact have these projects had on the local areas? Thank you.

Cong Liang:

In March of 2015, the NDRC, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Commerce released the Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. It put forward the building of six major international economic cooperation corridors, which are the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the New Eurasian Land Bridge, the China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor, the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor, and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. In recent years, these economic corridors have achieved significant progress, especially the building of international arterial routes with BRI partner countries and an infrastructure network that connects subregions in Asia as well as the continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa. The white paper elaborated on this in detail in the third chapter titled "Promoting All-Round Connectivity in Multiple Fields."

The first case is the China-Laos Railway. Since it began operation in December 2021, the China-Laos Railway has improved both the quality and quantity of passenger and cargo transport. As of early September, it had handled over 20.9 million passenger trips and transported over 25.36 million tons of goods. This railway, as a "Golden Channel" for local people, is making contributions to the economic and social development of not just Laos, but also ASEAN countries.

In terms of economic and trade cooperation, 25 provinces in China have opened international freight trains on the China-Laos Railway and transport services covering Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Singapore, greatly boosting economic and trade exchanges between China and Laos and strengthening economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN countries. In terms of connectivity, the China-Laos Railway has truly turned Laos into a land-linked hub, ensuring the convenient and fast transport of more products between China, ASEAN countries, and European countries.

In terms of people's well-being, since it began operations, the China-Laos Railway has recruited more than 3,500 Laotian staff and indirectly created over 100,000 jobs in various industries, including logistics, transportation, commerce and trade, and tourism. The railway has also provided new opportunities for ASEAN countries to better utilize new advantages brought by the entry into force of the RCEP agreement and created closer regional industrial and supply chains.

The other case is the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway. Some time ago, the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway was opened to the public for free trials, and the train was full nearly every time. I watched a video online in which a reporter made a coin stand on its edge on a table of the train, and it remained steady as the train traveled at speeds of up to 350km/h. This video went viral, and relevant comments demonstrated the wide acclaim received for the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway from all sectors of Indonesian society. In fact, not only has the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway greatly facilitated the travel of people along the railway line, it has also created 51,000 jobs for local people, trained 45,000 Indonesian staff, cultivated a batch of technicians and workers for high-speed railway construction and operations, and continues to deliver real and tangible benefits to local people.

Next, we will continue to adhere to the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, synergize our policies, mechanisms, and projects with BRI partner countries, and keep building quality landmark projects so as to improve the outcomes of cooperation and benefit people of BRI partner countries. Thank you.

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