BRI will bring China and ASEAN closer

By Rabi Sankar Bosu
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, May 22, 2017
Adjust font size:

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang addresses the 18th ASEAN-China summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Nov. 21, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua] 

"In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), we should focus on the fundamental issue of development, release the growth potential of various countries; achieve economic integration and interconnected development as well as deliver benefits to all," said President Xi Jinping at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum on May 14, 2017.

The year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the 26th anniversary of the dialogue partnership between China and ASEAN. Next year marks the 15th anniversary of China-ASEAN strategic partnership. Under the current international political and economic situation, China and ASEAN cooperation is very close.

The two-day Belt and Road Forum concluded on May 15, 2017 with more than 270 deliberations in boosting connectivity between countries involved in the BRI. In his opening address, Chinese President Xi Jinping triumphantly calls the BRI "the project of the century" that will "add splendor to human civilization" and help build "a new era of harmony and trade".

The 10-member ASEAN countries are China's close neighbors. The mentioning of the "ASEAN Community Vision 2025" in the "Joint Communique of the Leaders Roundtable of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation" undoubtedly shows China's commitment to strengthen friendship and cooperation with the ASEAN community. Surely, the development of China- ASEAN relations would benefit every ASEAN country and is conducive to the construction of the ASEAN community.

It is noticeable that media has also played a pivotal role in pushing forward China-ASEAN relations to a new stage of all-round development. It was reported that a one-day forum on China-ASEAN relations hosted by Beijing Review, Mission of China to ASEAN and the Pangoal Institution, took place on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum on May 15, 2017 in Beijing with an aim of promoting the BRI, and deepening China-ASEAN relations through media cooperation.

All the ASEAN countries with different backgrounds attended the high-profile BRF. The ASEAN leaders' active attendance in the conference showed that they extended their full support to the China-proposed BRI in order to integrate as an economic community for the common benefit of ASEAN nations. The forum also provided an ideal opportunity for ASEAN leaders to exchange views on cooperation and deepen their understanding with other world leaders within the ambit of the BRI.

China has called for greater synergy between BRI and development strategies of ASEAN member countries. Over the past three years and more, China has vigorously promoted ASEAN's community construction, the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, China-East ASEAN Growth Area cooperation, and the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation initiative, providing financial support via platforms like China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund.

It's really encouraging that since the initiation of the dialogue process in 1991, the China-ASEAN relationship has gone through an extraordinary path of development. In relation to the economy, China and ASEAN have been steadily improving. China has already remained the largest trade partner for ASEAN, while ASEAN is China's third-largest.

By the end of May 2016, the two-way investment had exceeded US$160 billion, with ASEAN remaining a major destination for Chinese companies. According to statistics, bilateral trade has also increased massively, from $7.96 billion in 1991 to $472.16 billion in 2015, with an annual growth rate of 18.5 percent. The total trade volume of ASEAN with China is projected to increase to $1 trillion by 2020.

However, some people believed that the China-ASEAN relationship was marred by the issue of South China Sea. But this is not true. According to China's foreign ministry, the South China Sea problem was not a China-ASEAN dispute and should not affect China-ASEAN relations.

The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), signed in 2002 by China and ASEAN countries, outlines the most important principles in the management of disputes on the South China Sea, and consultations for the code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea issue were launched by the two sides in 2013. With the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries the "temperature" of the South China Sea has significantly lowered in recent years, despite the U.S. military threat in the South China Sea.

An old Chinese saying goes, "A thousand mile journey cannot be completed without each and every small step, and mighty rivers and seas cannot take shape without each and every tiny stream." China has the Belt and Road Initiative, and ASEAN has the master plan of connectivity, which are highly complementary to each other, as a boost to overall cooperation. It is our hope that stronger cooperation between China and ASEAN will contribute to regional peace, growth and prosperity and benefits both sides, as well as the region as a whole.

Rabi Sankar Bosu, Secretary of New Horizon Radio Listeners' Club, West Bengal, India

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors only, not necessarily those of


Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from