The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative will provide an important engine for global growth and bring benefits to Southeast Asian countries, said former Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
A strong, prosperous China will benefit the rest of the world, including members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which hopes to grow stronger through promoting connectivity, Abhisit told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview. "I think China can play a very important role," he said. "The connectivity agenda is pretty much synonymous with the bigger picture of the Belt and Road Initiative. That's why China will be heavily involved."
Abhisit, who was Thai prime minister from 2008 to 2011, added that he believes the initiative provides a good development model at a time when people have begun to worry about globalization and trade.
The initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, aims to promote trade, financial integration, infrastructure inter-connectivity and people-to-people exchanges along and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes linking Asia with Europe and Africa.
The Belt and Road Initiative, said Abhisit, will spread prosperity, create opportunities and allow people to have access to the global market.
Speaking of the recent 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Abhisit, who is also president of Thailand's Democratic Party, said he closely followed the landmark event.
What is clear from the meeting is that China and the CPC will not just rest on past successes, he said, adding that there is a clear determination to look ahead at the challenges and targets and move on to get things done.
He also noted that the CPC has both a long tradition and a set of principles that guide it and at the same time allow it to adapt to new circumstances.
"What impressed me is that you are putting three things together: vision, theory and tradition. It's all very good to have one without the others ... But what's been reflected through General Secretary Xi Jinping's speech is putting these three things together," he stressed, citing the report Xi delivered on Oct. 18 at the opening session of the 19th CPC National Congress.
"So you are clear about where the country wants to go; you have the principles which have supported the past achievements," he added.
"What we can learn from the success of the Communist Party of China is the ability of the party to respond to the people's needs, to give back to the people, and to attach importance to party discipline," he said.