PHNOM PENH, China-ASEAN relations are expected to be closer, under the dovetailing between China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC), Cambodian prominent scholars said.

The 35th ASEAN Summit and related meetings will take place from now to Nov 4 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Mey Kalyan, chairman of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, said, weak connectivity has been identified as one of the main obstacles that hampers the development of ASEAN region.

Joining hands between the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity and the BRI, which generally possesses rich financial and technical assets, is definitely a positive factor that will expedite the implementation of infrastructure development and translate the plan into reality sooner, he said.

All these will foster inclusive economic development in the region, and as a result, will certainly make people more prosperous, he said.

Kalyan said, China’s role in supporting ASEAN’s development has been instrumental and useful, in particular for less developed countries like Cambodia.

In addition to infrastructure development and trade promotion, education and science, as well as, technology are the areas that China can contribute significantly, he said.

Chheang Vannarith, president of the Asian Vision Institute, said, the move will contribute to the connectivity and communication between China and ASEAN.

It’s necessary to connect the BRI with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, as these two initiatives are complementary, he said. Resource allocation would be better and greater positive impacts would be generated.

Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said China is a key partner for ASEAN in upholding peace and stability and in promoting development and prosperity in the region.

The two sides have been jointly promoting the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and shaping rules for the region, he said.

Matthews said, BRI has accelerated the pace of economic development in the region and beyond, and infrastructure development and connectivity have opened a new chapter of economic and human resources development in the region.

These are areas where both sides can work more closely and strategically for the mutual benefits of the people of both sides.� NNN-AKP

Source: NAM News Network