Former Australia Foreign Minister Gareth Evans gives a speech while launching his new book "Incorrigible Optimist" at the National Press Club in Canberra, Australia, on Oct. 4, 2017. Gareth Evans, who served as Australia's foreign minister under the Labor government from 1988 to 1996, on Wednesday endorsed the idea that Australia should embrace China's Belt and Road Intitiative in developing its north. (Xinhua/Xu Haijing)
CANBERRA, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Gareth Evans, who served as Australia's foreign minister under the Labor government from 1988 to 1996, on Wednesday endorsed the idea that Australia should embrace China's Belt and Road Intitiative in developing its north.
Speaking in Canberra at the National Press Club to launch his book, "Incorrigible Optimist", Evans urged fellow Australians to respect the reality that China is becoming the world's No. 1 economically and has been a "huge, huge, huge" economic engine in the region and the world.
"We could see the future. If we are not part of that action, we are going to be left behind," he said.
He endorsed Labor Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen's earlier proposal to bring on board China's Belt and Road Initiative in funding the infrastructure projects in Australia's underdeveloped North.
Last Friday, Bowen said in his speech to the Asia Society that "We will come to office if we win the next election with an open mind as to how Australia and China can best collaborate on the Belt and Road Initiative, with a clear-eyed approach to our respective national interests."
Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.
Evans said Bowen's speech was "a first class articulation of what we need to do in the economic dimension of that relationship."
"It didn't purport to address the security and strategic dimensions but it was about the economics and everything that was said in that speech was just totally sensible about the need, in particular, to embrace without too much neurosis, the Belt and Road Initiative and infrastructure opportunities that flow from that and the linkage opportunities that flow from that."