FEATURE: Belt and Road Initiative forges unique path rolling out high quality infrastructure
VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is ensuring that construction of high quality infrastructure continues at pace in many countries, including Laos.
Speaking at a recent meeting in China’s Guizhou province, project experts said implementing the BRI was an extension of the nation’s development experience, which opened the door to the outside world and prioritised infrastructure and financing.
In rolling out this development, China has not studied western principles but instead adopted its own unique work ethic to deal effectively with any problems that arise during the megaproject rollout.
With investment and assistance to foreign countries, China values the principle of equality and benefits for all and does not interfere with other countries’ internal affairs.
Most countries involved with the BRI are in Asia and Africa, and many are underdeveloped, so China is stepping forward to rollout high quality construction projects.
BRI projects are being implemented in accordance with regulations to ensure environmental protection, worker safety, and compensation for resident relocations, with active anti-corruption measures in place.
Improving the quality of each project and making sure the general public in the host country feel they have received benefits are also important priorities of the BRI.
In April, the second Belt and Road International Cooperation Forum was held in Beijing which opened a new era for high quality co-construction.
During the event’s opening ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that cooperation was at the heart of building a high quality BRI.
He highlighted the need to adhere to common principles with promoting dialogue and co-construction, as well as sharing benefits. This would open the door to the outside to achieve high standard development and benefit all people.
However, for some time, countries in the west have raised doubts and criticised the BRI, falsely claiming that it does not respect internationally accepted rules or its workers.
To the contrary, China today is offering another viable option to developing countries, and they think that the BRI is successful. This also means the Chinese model is successful and greatly influencing countries around the world.
The Belt and Road (Yidaiyilu) Initiative dates back to 2013 when President Xi visited Kazakhstan. During his visit, he called for countries in the region to work together to create the Silk Road Economic Belt.
Yidaiyilu means the One Belt, One Road Initiative. President Xi discussed it at length and was impressed by the thought that the scheme would involve so many countries developing together with no one left behind.
Laos is a country along the Belt and Road Initiative and the Laos-China Railway project is now about 65 percent complete after construction began in December 2016.
When operational, passenger trains will run at 160km per hour from Vientiane to the Boten-Mohan border crossing between Laos and China, through the four provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha. This section of the vast rail network covers 414.3 kilometres.
The railway is scheduled for completion at the end of 2021 and will be the first rail route linking Laos to China’s network.
In future, the railway will run south from Vientiane through Thailand and Malaysia, ending at Singapore, which has a large port where sea freight can be unloaded and dispatched.