Dato' Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the UN (XINHUA)
Implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative will greatly benefit the regional and world economy, said Dato' Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the UN, on May 11 in New York.
"Once the Belt and Road Initiative is fully implemented, its contribution will be massive," he said to Beijing Review. The initiative will bring positive influence to participating countries in employment, transportation technology, reduction of poverty, and people-to-people connectivity, added the ambassador.
Under the framework of the initiative, there are six economic corridors, namely, the New Eurasian Land Bridge and the China-Mongolia-Russia, China-Central Asia-West Asia, China-Indochina Peninsula, China-Pakistan and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridors.
If the six corridors can be established, they will not only benefit people-to-people connectivity, but also the welfare of the people along the routes, stressed the Malaysian ambassador.
He explained that if an individual country's economy is doing well, it will deliver benefits to the regional economy and the global economy as a whole.
Both the Security Council and the General Assembly of the UN have incorporated the Belt and Road Initiative into their resolutions.
"Of course it is very significant that the Belt and Road Initiative is supported by the Security Council and the General Assembly of the UN as well as the member countries," said the ambassador. Actually, he pointed out, there are good links between the initiative and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For example, the initiative focuses on infrastructure construction, and the SDGs also call for sustainable infrastructure, end of poverty and increase of employment.
The Belt and Road Initiative has five priority areas: policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity. Since the initiative was launched more than three years ago, many projects have made progress or achieved early harvests. China and Malaysia have conducted several projects under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. For example, the Malacca industrial park is part of the giant Malacca Gateway project. According to their agreement, China and Malaysia will jointly invest $10 billion to build a first-class industrial park in the coastal area.
"The Belt and Road Initiative has contributed a lot to the bilateral relationship, and I think both sides are benefiting from it," the ambassador said.
On May 14-15, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak attended the forum. He also met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and talked about details of future cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.
In October 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Najib agreed to upgrade bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership. China has been Malaysia's top trade partner for eight years in a row. According statistics from Malaysia, their bilateral trade volume reached $54.3 billion in 2016, an increase of 4.4 percent year on year.
(Reporting from New York City)