Belt and Road Initiative to benefit SE Asia, S Asia with Chinese investment

Canberra—The Belt and Road Initiative is an existing trend which will benefit the development of Southeast Asia and South Asia with more Chinese investment pouring in these regions, said Gordon Flake, Director of Perth USAsia Center.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Flake said the Belt and Road Initiative is a reality, an existing trend. In the past 25 years, the defining development of that era has been the growth of China, he said.
In the next 25 years, with China being strong and influential, many countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia, like Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and India, will enter a fast growing period. The center of economic gravity begins to shift to Indo-Pacific and a large reason of that is the Chinese investment and trade with China of these countries under the Belt and Road Initiative, said Flake. Flake said there are worries about Chinese investment in some countries. But when looking back at history, people see the similar worries over Japanese investment in the 1970s and 1980s. Bangladash and Vietnam worried about investment from South Korea for their labor policy.
“Now, nobody worries about Japanese investment and Korean investment. They welcome them,” said Flake.
As for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Flake held that the United States did not handle the response to China’s initiative very well. “AIIB is not controversial at all,” he said. “AIIB now is very different. It has evolved a lot in a good way,” he said, “I wouldn’t be surprised, depending on performance, if at some point the United States and Japan join the AIIB.”
Flake said Western Australia is well-postioned in this Indo-Pacific era.—Xinhua

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