The Belt and Road Initiative will bring China and ASEAN to a new stage of mutual trust, reciprocal cooperation and common development. When taking an interview, Mr. Teo Siong Seng, President of Singapore Business Federation and Managing Director of Pacific International Lines (PIL) said that Singapore, as an important port country, actively responds to the building of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It is ready to strengthen cooperation with China in building a closer China-ASEAN Community of Shared Destiny and with other countries in promoting the Belt and Road Initiative, from which more countries can gain tangible benefits.
Journalist: The 12th CAEXPO features Building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road: Creating a Bright Blueprint for Maritime Cooperation as the theme. It arranges not only exhibitions, business promotion programs and high-end forums, but also a series of cultural and sport activities. What impresses you most?
Teo Siong Seng: Of course the theme of Building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road: Creating a Bright Blueprint for Maritime Cooperation. I, myself, is engaging in the maritime business. The 11th CAEXPO proposed the maritime cooperation, and it now is upgraded by the Maritime Silk Road initiative, which is well received by many countries. I think the opening ceremony of the 12th CAEXPO is like an art show for the scenery and voices of the 10 countries, which is very interesting. And the Maritime Silk Road mentioned in the speeches made by leaders is not a solo but a chorus. We hope that all the parties concerned could play a chime concerto for the Maritime Silk Road with the CAEXPO as an instrument.
Journalist: This year kicks off the full implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative and marks the China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Year. What roles do the CAEXPO has played in the China-ASEAN exchanges and cooperation?
Teo Siong Seng: The CAEXPO is a grand gathering of the businesses of different industries. I hope that the CAEXPO make full use of the initiative of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to implement the proposals by the Chinese leaders. The 12th CAEXPO not only promotes the maritime, road and railway cooperation, but also strengthen tourism and cultural exchanges, all of which, I think, are highly relevant to the building of Belt and Road.
Journalists: No matter the Belt and Road Initiative or the building of upgraded version of CAEXPO, it is to further enhance the China-ASEAN cooperation. What are your expectations and suggestions on the CAEXPO?
Teo Siong Seng: The CAEXPO attracts more and more participants year by year. The theme of this year’s CAEXPO is timely and of great significance. Delegates from Korea and WTO are invited to the CAEXPO this year. Maybe, you could invite world maritime organizations to the CAEXPO in the coming years, which will facilitate the building of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
Journalist: You have done great job to the success of the CAEXPO. Could you share with us some stories that impress you deeply during the CAEXPO, which you have visited 3 times?
Teo Siong Seng: Actually, I am not very sure what the CAEXPO is and what it is for at the very beginning, because there are trade fairs in Guangzhou and Beijing. But I find that the CAEXPO indeed help improve the relations between China and ASEAN over the past years. I think the CAEXPO is a very good platform for trade cooperation. I hope the trade volume between China and ASEAN will reach USD 1 trillion in 2010, which means it should be doubled from the USD 500 billion this year.
Teo Siong Seng: SBF arranged the Singapore Regional Economic Forum in the end of July this year, which featured Belt and Road as the theme. We all affirm the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in particular. I am very delighted to hear from the speech made by leaders this morning that the Belt and Road Initiative is not a solo. I believe the initiative is reciprocal cooperation. It is a program of all the countries along the Belt and Road, not just of China or ASEAN. Through this CAEXPO, we have a better understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative and less and less questions. This is not an initiative that can be completed in one or two decades. It might take efforts of several generations. Once the Initiative completes, over 60 countries along the Belt and Road will be benefited. By then, 2/3 of the people in the world will enjoy happier life. China-ASEAN cooperation will achieve win-win results via the CAEXPO as a platform. Let us join hands to overcome those difficulties and challenges to build the China-ASEAN Community of Shared Destiny.
Source:China-ASEAN Expo Secretariat