On September 13, 2018, the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor Forum was jointly organized by the National Development and Reform Commission of China (NDRC), the Ministry of Planning and Investment of Myanmar and the people’s government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in Nanning. Ning Jizhe, Vice Chairman of the NDRC, and Soe Win, Minister of Planning and Finance of Myanmar. delivered speeches respectively. Chen Wenling, Chief Economist of China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), delivered the following keynote speech.
Dear minister Soe Win, vice minster Ning Jizhe, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon!
I am very happy and honored to participate in the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor Forum.
The building of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor is of great significance to both China and Myanmar. In December 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar reached a consensus on building the China-Myanmar economic corridor. Afterward, the governments of China and Myanmar have started frequent consultations. On September 9 this year, He Lifeng, Minister of the NDRC and the Myanmar government signed a memorandum of understanding on the building of the Myanmar-China Economic Corridor. On September 11, NDRC Vice Minister Ning Jizhe presided over the working conference on promoting the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, at which a decision was made to jointly prepare an overall plan for the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, including 12 important projects. The leading organization for the preparation of the overall plan is CCIEE. It is a great pleasure to receive such a glorious task and an important opportunity for CCIEE to contribute to the friendship between China and Myanmar. CCIEE has attached great importance to this task and will do its best to complete it successfully. Today, I would like to talk about two major points.
Making the overall plan for the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor has significant historical and practical value.
First of all, the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor is a very important economic corridor of the belt and road initiative and an important link of the six economic corridors included in the building of the belt and road. The Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor is very important and the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor is the most important part of this corridor. The successful completion of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor will pave the way for the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor. Moreover, the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor can be connected with the China-Laos-Thailand Railway in the future and hence to form a path from the west line to the Central South Peninsula. Therefore, the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor plays an important role in the overall layout of the belt and road as it is not only concerns the economic corridor between China and Myanmar, but also strongly related with the construction of the six economic corridors under the belt and road.
Second, China and Myanmar have a long history and cultural origin, share common historical and cultural roots, and enjoy a lasting friendship. The source of Chinese culture is the combination of Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Medicine, and Yi. The Buddhism, founded by Sakyamuni, evolved into the Hinayana Buddhism in Myanmar and the Mahayana Buddhism in China, implying that the two nations have the same cultural roots. This root is an important source of Chinese civilization and culture, thus, China and Myanmar should jointly promote the similar cultural root in the new era and use it to connect the historical and cultural thoughts of the two countries.
Third, the friendship between China and its neighboring countries is based on equality, mutual benefit, cooperation and shared-outcome. The belt and road is based on the basic principles of mutual consultation, joint construction and shared-outcome. The cooperation between China and Myanmar should become the best model and example of cooperation between China and its neighboring countries. If we can complement the advantages of the two countries through the belt and road initiative, and allow Myanmar and China to share development opportunities, this will be an important historical opportunity for Myanmar and China.
Fourth, the building of a common community with a shared future, interest and responsibility for China and Myanmar reflects a new era, new civilization and new realm. In this regard, China and Myanmar can have more exploration. In today’s world, we face the same challenges and opportunities and China hopes to build a common community of a shared future with different countries and people all over the world. China wants to bring the world peace and harmony and make the world a better place. On the contrary, some countries put their interests above other countries, and try to impose sanctions against other countries by turning their domestic rules into international rules. China and Myanmar can take the lead in the building of economic corridor and bring new hope to the world.
Lastly, the most important thing is the consensus reached by the Chinese and Burmese leaders, and the Chinese and Myanmar governments are creating favorable conditions, market environment and policies to support the economic corridor. The speeches that have just been delivered by the ministers of Myanmar and the Secretary-General of Myanmar’s think tank indicate that the Myanmar government has made great efforts. Of course, the Chinese government has long and put great efforts on the research of the China-Myanmar economic corridor. CCIEE and the Ministry of Planning and Finance of Myanmar have been chosen to jointly make the plan for the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, which is a decision reached by the two governments. So far, China has signed 123 cooperation agreements with 105 countries and international organizations under the belt and road initiative. However, the joint preparation of the overall plan for the China-Myanmar economic corridor is one of the first and valuable experiments. If this attempt can become successful, it will set a good example and help to build a better Economic Corridor between China and Myanmar. Vice-Minister Ning Jizhe has just pointed out that the overall plan should play a leading role as it will make the building of the Myanmar-China Economic Corridor more efficient and effective.
The second point I would like to make is that CCIEE is very honored to accept this glorious task and together with our partners from Myanmar, we will accomplish the task. In my opinion, the following aspects should be highlighted in the preparation of the overall plan for the China-Myanmar economic corridor.
First, we should give the leading role of the overall plan into full play. The plan should meet the interests of both China and Myanmar and conforms to the reality of the two countries, especially to meet the needs of Myanmar’s economic and social development and its people.
Second, the organizations of the two countries that are responsible for making the plan should work together, highlight key points and make a comprehensive plan. The speeches that have been delivered by the ministers and entrepreneurs of Myanmar and China are very important and the projects they mentioned should become the major projects of the plan. They have done a lot of preliminary work and laid an excellent foundation for our preparation of this plan and thus, we will strive to put their ingenuity and practices into the plan. The plan should stress interconnection, infrastructure construction, and the areas that complement the advantages of Myanmar and China.
Third, the overall plan should be connected with four other aspects. Firstly, the plan should be connected with Myanmar’s 2018-2030 sustainable development plan. Second, the plan should include the projects in the early stage of the belt and road MoU signed by the Chinese and Burmese governments on September 9th. Third, the plan should be connected with other related corridors of the belt and road. The plan should take into consideration the laws and regulations of the two countries and the actual needs of the people.
Fourth, we must focus on establishing a long-term mechanism when preparing for the master plan. The China-Myanmar Economic Corridor is not a project or a road, it should be a great undertaking featured with consistency and sustainability. The China-Myanmar Economic Corridor is not just a testimony to the long-standing China-Myanmar friendship, but also a master plan that will bring the two countries a better future. Therefore, we should focus on the design of long-term mechanisms, such as long-term investment and financing mechanisms, sharing risks and benefits, cooperation mechanisms between governments, the design, research and communication of policy support, and the mechanism for China and Myanmar to jointly participate in the investment and construction of third-party markets. The overall plan should pay special attention to the design of cooperation mechanism.
Finally, I believe that the overall plan should allow us to make the best use of the existing resources. The projects and cooperation completed by China and Myanmar have laid a solid foundation for future cooperation between the two countries. For example, the construction of the Myitsone Dam, the construction of the industrial zone and port at Kyaukpyu by CITIC Group in the past seven years, the design and construction of Yangon New City, the railways and highways connecting Ruili and Mandalay, the design and construction of energy networks and so on. All these projects have paved the way for better cooperation between China and Myanmar and will help the overall plan to play a leading role in cooperation between the two countries.
Thank you all!