An action plan to guide the further development of China's newly launched land-sea corridor in its western region was issued during the ongoing 16th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, in a bid to promote connectivity between China and ASEAN members and further expand the Belt and Road Initiative.
The action plan, released on Sunday, aims to raise the level of interconnection through infrastructure construction and the quality and efficiency of logistics, thus bringing a new round of opportunities for the region.
Meanwhile, a digital trade hub connecting China and ASEAN members was launched, with the goal of transforming the country's western region to a frontier of openness and international cooperation.
The new land-sea corridor, which extends primarily from Chengdu, Sichuan province, and Chongqing to a group of Beibu Gulf ports in Guangxi and Yangpu Port in Hainan province, was launched in August. It aims to build an economical, efficient, convenient and safe land-sea corridor for the western region.
Vice-Premier Han Zheng said during the opening ceremony of the China-ASEAN Expo on Saturday that China and ASEAN interconnect both geographically and culturally. China attaches great importance to its cooperation with ASEAN.
It has been a hand-in-hand relationship with those countries that has made progress since the establishment of a strategic partnership 16 years ago, he said.
As of August, the accumulated bilateral investment between China and ASEAN totaled $230 billion, the Ministry of Commerce said. In the first half of this year, trade volume surged 4.2 percent year-on-year to $292 billion.
Zhang Shenfeng, vice-chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said that both the new land-sea corridor and the digital trade hub are key projects representing the region's participation in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Lu Xinshe, Party secretary of Guangxi, said the new land-sea corridor connects China with ASEAN countries with high efficiency, noting that Guangxi is a critical point along the corridor.
Yu Jianhua, vice-minister of commerce, said China has been ASEAN's largest trading partner for 10 consecutive years and ASEAN replaced the United States this year as China's second-largest trading partner.
Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said that China and Vietnam are important supporters of economic globalization and free trade, as well as staunch defenders of the multilateral trading system.
China and ASEAN countries should continue hand-in-hand to boost globalization and cross-border cooperation and build an open and fair business environment to achieve win-win outcomes, he said.
The four-day expo, which runs through Tuesday, is themed "Building the Belt and Road: Realizing Our Vision for a Community of Shared Future". The ongoing events are based on the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030.
According to organizers, 16 major projects will be signed during the expo, covering 5G development, big data, healthcare and intelligent manufacturing.