(Theme: “Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future”)
(Beijing, 26 April 2019)
Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Heads of International Organisations,
Ladies and Gentlemen
The keynote speech delivered by Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping at this morning opening session of the Forum highlighted the comprehensive matters regarding to Belt and Road Initiative such as the need of infrastructure development, peace, prosperity and anti-corruption.
It has been two years since we last met here in Beijing at the First Belt and Road Forum where we welcomed the concept of the Belt and Road Initiative launched by our close neighbour, China. We congratulate President Xi Jinping for introducing his vision for the revival of the ancient Silk Road, which opened the doors of trade and engagement between East and West thousands of years ago.
This Second Forum provides us with the opportunity to deliberate on how we might strengthen existing partnerships in the next phase and how we might achieve high-quality cooperation under the win-win partnership of the B & R Initiative.
Myanmar is of the view that high-quality cooperation can only be assured by building consensus among participating countries in adherence to agreed guiding principles, including the five principles of peaceful coexistence. Furthermore, projects under this Initiative need to be in line with the development plans and priorities of the participating countries. The projects should not only be economically feasible but also socially and environmentally responsible, and most importantly, they must win the confidence and support of local peoples. These aims can be achieved only by convincing the populace of participating countries that the BRI will have a positive impact on their lives.
We are gathered here at a time when the world is confronted with expanding opportunities, rising challenges and epoch-making changes. By strengthening our cooperation and collaboration, opportunities and challenges can be seized and wielded into positive changes for all of us.
We hope that our discussions today will contribute to the development of partner countries through improvements in infrastructure, enhancement of cultural ties, openness, and inclusiveness, in the framework of a people-centred approach.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
May I now turn to the role of my country in this important Initiative. Myanmar is located as a land bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia, in close proximity to such large economies as China, India and ASEAN. It has always been our policy to maintain close and friendly relations with all nations, especially with our neighbours. Sharing a border of over 2000 kilometers, China and Myanmar have long valued our special Pauk-phaw relationship and close multi-faceted cooperation.
Even before the introduction of BRI in 2013, Myanmar and China had already concluded MOUs on a number of infrastructure projects, including oil and gas pipelines connecting Myanmar to the Yunnan Province of China.
In view of our geographical proximity, our existing friendly and strategic partnership relations and our firm good neighbourliness with China, Myanmar has embraced the Belt and Road Initiative. At the first BRI Forum, Myanmar and China signed the MOU on Cooperation within the framework of BRI, indicating our commitment to work together to realize the goal of common development in areas of mutual interests, in line with our national plans and priorities.
Two years on, we have completed the signing of the MoU on Jointly Building the Myanmar-China Economic Corridor and also agreed to set up an Economic Cooperation Zone at selected border posts to facilitate trade and investment.
The Economic Corridor will become an important component not only of our bilateral cooperation but also of the Belt and Road cooperation in the regional context, in line with the principles of mutual consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. The next step will be to identify specific areas of cooperation and the route and mode of the Corridor that these might accord with our National Long-term Development Master Plans and Strategies which are based on the aspirations of our people as well as the priority needs of our country.
Our Government has been making strenuous efforts to improve connectivity within our own country by placing emphasis on the improvement of our infrastructure, in particular, the constructions of roads, ports and railways, and electrification. We believe that the BRI projects selected in line with our national plan and priorities will contribute to our endeavours for the improvement of much needed infrastructure that will not merely enhance domestic connectivity but also improve cross-border connectivity.
As cross-border connectivity improves, we will need greater support to strengthen our national capacity and border control facilities. Improvement in cross-border connectivity will mean increased trade, tourism, investment and people-to-people contacts. At the same time, we have to be mindful that such positive developments are too often accompanied by negative factors such as illegal migration and drug and human trafficking. To maximize the benefits from improved connectivity, we would need to take steps to minimize the possible negative social and environmental consequences.
Excellencies, Ladies, and Gentlemen
For development to be sustainable, it needs to be clean and green, to ensure an environment that is condusive to healthy growth and living. We look forward to working with our BRI partners to integrate environmental and social concerns into business operations that our world might be richer and more beautiful in all aspects. Health and education, art and culture should be major beneficiaries of our cooperative efforts towards development.
May I conclude by emphasizing the need for peace and stability, if the cherished goals of our BRI are to be realized and passed down as a living, growing legacy for coming generations. We are privileged to be able to gather here today to work in partnership for a better future and I hope that we may be able to make the best of such a unique opportunity.
I thank you.
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