BANGKOK — Experts attending the ongoing meeting of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) hailed the Belt and Road Initiative as a new approach for Asian regional cooperation here on July 11.
Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of Silk Road.
Most of the attendees noted that today’s world is beset by thorny issues such as weak global economic recovery and growth and intensifying trade protectionism.
Jusuf Wanandi, senior fellow and co-founder of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies from Indonesia, said the Belt and Road Initiative has drawn up an ambitious blueprint in connectivity.
The Belt and Road Initiative is far more than a purely economic initiative, but a way of thinking and new solution for development, according to Chen Namchaisiri, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries.
Chen said the initiative has brought countries along the Belt and Road routes new types of economy such as e-commerce. “People’s life will be changed, once they have chances to join the supply chain of e-commerce,” he added.
Surakiat Sathirathai, former deputy prime minister of Thailand, noted that the China’s vision of connectivity is highly compatible with Thailand’s national strategy.
He told Xinhua that the concept of digital connectivity sits well with Thailand’s much-touted 4.0 strategy, which aims to pull the country out from middle-income trap through innovation industry. Under the initiative, Thailand and China will embrace further cooperation at a higher level.
The conference brought together approximately 300 leaders from various communities to brainstorm new approaches and challenges to Asian regional cooperation and identify new opportunities of cooperation in different sectors.