China pledges over $20b loans to boost Southeast Asian connectivity
NAY PYI TAW -- China on Thursday offered loans worth over $20 billion to support Southeast Asia's connectivity construction.
The offer, including a preferential loan worth $10 billion for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members and a $10 billion special loan set up by China Development Bank for the regional infrastructure development, was made by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the 9th East Asia Summit held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
China will also set aside altogether 30 million yuan ($4.89 million) in the next three years for China-ASEAN economic and technical cooperation.
The premier said China will start raising $3 billion for the second phase of the China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund which targets investment opportunities in infrastructure, energy and natural resources in the ASEAN countries.
At the same time, Li pledged to offer assistance worth 3 billion yuan ($480 million) to less developed members of the ASEAN next year to help the regional bloc reduce poverty.
China will also offer 100 million yuan ($16 million) for rural poverty reduction project in East Asia, he added.
China, which regards ASEAN as a priority in its diplomacy with neighboring countries, is the largest trading partner of the 10-member regional bloc, and ASEAN has emerged as China's third-largest trading partner, a major investment destination and an important tourist destination.
The Chinese premier is here for a series of leaders' meetings on East Asian cooperation and an official visit to Myanmar.