Speech by Ambassador Huang Huikang at the Energy, Resources and Sustainable Development Conference of Boao Forum for Asia
Distinguished Guest Speakers,
Ladies and Gentleman,
It is my great honor to be invited as a guest speaker today, to share with you my understandings on ASEAN's role and opportunities in China's One Belt and One Road Initiative.
2100 years ago, the Silk Road was the world's oldest, and most historically important overland trade route facilitating trade between Asia and Europe and the exchange of Eastern and Western cultures. After 2100 years, in 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping , for the first time, proposed the strategic initiative of jointly building a New Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Marine Silk Road, by advocating policy communication, interconnectivity of roads, free trade and currency circulation, and bringing people's interests together.
"Belt and Road" Initiative will bring a brand new concept to the ancient Silk Road. If you look at a world map, you'll find that the Belt and Road represents the longest economic corridor in the world. It starts from China and threads through Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia and parts of Europe, serving as a bridge linking the Asia-Pacific economic circle and the European economic circle. It covers 4.4 billion people accounting for 63% of the world's population.
China and ASEAN countries are close neighbors connected by land and sea. Geographically, we are natural cooperative partners by sharing over 4000-miles land boundaries. 2000 years ago, ancient Silk Road strengthened the trade and culture exchanges among the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa. ASEAN is at the intersection of the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, and also between two largely populated countries--China and India. This makes ASEAN stand out as the most critical hinge and the starting point on 21 Century Marine Silk Road, and a key link of the huge net covering Asia, Europe and Africa as well.
The ASEAN Master Plan for Connectivity (AMPC) and "Belt and Road" Initiative have striking similarities and parallels. Both envisage transport connectivity as a way to bring members or participating countries closer to one another, facilitating better access for trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people exchanges. Both call for a system of roads and railways to link regional countries with one another, as well as a system of ports and short sea shipping to link insular countries and mainland. Given this shared vision, the two could complement one another in common interests and cooperation.
How would "Belt and Road" Initiative benefit ASEAN in concrete ways?
Firstly, it is estimated that total demand for infrastructure capital in ASEAN will reach USD600 billion in the next decade. Chinese government will render financial support by implementing "Belt and Road" through the following moves:
---New Silk Road fund will register USD40 billion, and initial capital is expected to be USD10 billion.
---AIIB authorizes capital amount of USD100 billion.
---China-ASEAN Infrastructure Fund with capital of USD10 billion will be set up soon.
---"Marine Silk Road Bank" will be established with a minimum paid-in capital of RMB 5 billion yuan.
---China Development Bank(CDB), the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the Bank of China(BOC), the China Construction Bank (CCB), the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) and so on, are now studying and staging financial injections to projects in the frame of "Belt and Road".
Secondly, ASEAN's objective of Economic Community is to realize ASEAN single market and production base comprising five core elements: free flow of goods, services, investment, capital and skilled labor. "Belt and Road" Initiative will help to :
---Unlock the infrastructure links among ASEAN members and remove the barricades standing in the way of economic growth.
---Build infrastructure networks to enhance the interaction and complementation of different economies.
---Facilitate better access to bilateral trade, markets and win-win cooperation between China and ASEAN.
---Enable ASEAN to establish strong economic and trade ties with Central Asia and East Europe nations along Silk Road Economic Belt.
Thirdly, Asia is the largest energy-consuming continent where energy shortage has already become the major bottleneck for further economic development. It is estimated that energy demand in this region will grow by 65% in next 25 years.
Most Asian countries are newly emerged or developing economies. They differ in economic systems, infrastructure building, energy transformation, energy efficiency and energy logistics. A trans-regional web of energy collaboration is requested to address the above-mentioned issues. "Belt and Road" will serve as a stimulus to Asia's energy collaboration.
---Improving land transportation system across Europe and Asia. Malacca Strait is the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. With closer and wider connection of land transportation across Europe and Asia, more transshipping centers will be formed. Both land and water transportation would be complementary in terms of mobility and co-function to facilitate energy logistics.
---Forging new energy exploring center. With the upgrading of energy technology and transportation in Central Asia, the land energy resources of this region will be explored gradually. In West Asia, the application of new equipment and technology would produce scale energy effect. Russia's exploration of oil and natural gas resources will be encouraged by renewing industrial technology and equipment, as well as favorable investment environment. As for China, it will strengthen its efforts in exploring non-conventional energy, new energy and alternative energy. It could be foreseen that the Belt and Road countries will surely enjoy multiple energy supplies.
---Extending energy supply chain and value chain. "Belt and Road" will also help to establish energy refining centers, which serve as a key role of diversifying economic structures and upgrading industrialization level for net energy exporters. By doing that, energy supply chain and value chain will be largely extended.
---Expanding energy consuming markets. The Belt and Road regions are the world's largest energy consuming markets. There is a growing trend of energy consumption in China, India, Pakistan and South-East nations. A huge energy market across Europe and Asia will further change energy trade movements and energy layout globally, which ASEAN will benefit from.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As stated in the Vision and Actions on Belt and Road past March, the Belt and Road Initiative is a common aspiration of all countries along their routes. China is ready to conduct equal-footed consultation with all countries along the Belt and Road to seize the opportunity provided by the Initiative, promote opening-up, communication and integration among countries in a larger scope, while giving consideration to the interests and aspirations of all parties.
The development of the Belt and Road is open and inclusive, and we welcome the active participation of all countries and international and regional organizations in this Initiative.
The Belt and Road cooperation features mutual respect and trust, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, and mutual learning between civilizations. As long as all countries along the Belt and Road make concerted efforts to pursue our common goal, there will be bright prospects for the countries along the Belt and Road and everyone can all benefit from this Initiative.