Business / Economy

China's initiatives help address infrastructure deficit in Asia: Kevin Rudd

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-10-17 14:55

UNITED NATIONS - Chinese-proposed infrastructure initiatives, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and One Belt One Road, are helping address an infrastructure deficit in Asia, Kevin Rudd, former prime minister of Australia and president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"(One Belt One Road) is seeking to build the economic infrastructure in that vast expanse of Eurasia and Southern Asia between China and Europe, new connectivities -- road, rail, ports, transport, and communications -- as well as in the generation of power and water resources," Rudd said.

"This is a good agenda, I support the agenda because in that part of the world, there is an infrastructure deficit," he said.

Rudd said that One Belt One Road was a great opportunity for Americans and Chinese to collaborate on investment projects in the region.

Another area where China is supporting infrastructure development is the newly proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB).

"I think (the AIIB) has been set up in the right sort of way," said Rudd."I've been a supporter of the AIIB since it was first announced as a concept."

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang announced the AIIB initiative during their respective visits to Southeast Asian countries in October 2013.

"I think it will be able to play a significant role in partnership with the Asian Development Bank, in partnership with the World Bank, in partnerships with global private capital to build the infrastructure of Asia (and) create new opportunities," said Rudd.

As of Oct 9, 53 out of the 57 prospective founding members of the bank had signed the AIIB agreement.

Though the United States has no plan to join the AIIB at the moment, US President Barack Obama said in April that the United States looked forward to collaborating with the new development bank.

Rudd said that development banks such as the AIIB should be seen as an area for common endeavor, adding that he thought the United States would join the AIIB in time.

"I think in time it will be good to see the United States on board as well," said Rudd, who is also chair of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism.

Building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and innovation is goal nine of the UN's new Sustainable Development Goals, which was adopted by world leaders here in late September as a blueprint for the global sustainable development efforts for the next 15 years.

All 193 UN member states agreed to the 17 goals at the end of September and will work towards reaching them between 2016 and 2030.

Rudd said that the key challenge will be ensuring the goals are applied in developing countries.

"The key challenge is how do we now take the Sustainable Development Goals framework and apply it to the concrete challenges of development of the more than 100 countries in the world that are still in the process of development," he said.

However, Rudd doesn't just think that China's investments in infrastructure should be limited to developing countries. He also said there were opportunities for Chinese capitals to help develop the United States public infrastructure.

"We have the opportunity to see concrete investment projects flowing from Chinese capital to American projects and creating American jobs and hopefully improving American public infrastructure," he said.

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