ASEAN — the Association of Southeast Asian Nations — is made up of 10 countries that have already achieved huge progress toward economic integration, but are still confronted with difficulties with physical integration.
With that in mind, these countries have come up with an ambitious plan to create a trans-ASEAN road and rail link network. Thanks to various limitations, this plan still remains on the drawing board.
However, China’s Belt and Road initiative has shed light on ASEAN for their plan to become reality. China has rich experience in infrastructure building and a strong will to provide help for ASEAN countries. Moreover, the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank may also have an essential role to play in this mission.
If ASEAN can accomplish better economic integration, the organization can become more closely connected both socially and culturally, which can be very beneficial to both China and its neighbors in many areas.