by Wang Qibing, Nguon Sovan
PHNOM PENH, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian experts have voiced their supports for China's initiative of a "maritime silk road" in cooperation with the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), saying this ambitious plan would bring better connections and closer maritime cooperation if it became a reality.
"This initiative is very good since China and ASEAN are neighbors and have good cooperation in all fields," Mao Thora, secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce, told Xinhua. "This expresses China's strong commitment to build a region of peace, development and prosperity."
"If such project comes to a reality, it will further enhance the relations and cooperation between China and ASEAN in economy, trade, investment, tourism and so on," he said. It will be easier to exchange goods between China and ASEAN and among ASEAN countries themselves."
He said for Cambodia, it really needs more investment in port infrastructure development.
The idea of a "maritime silk road" was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Indonesia last October and also by Premier Li Keqiang during the 16th China-ASEAN leaders ' meeting in Brunei the same month.
Ros Chantrabot, advisor to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, said Beijing's vision of reviving the "maritime silk road" showed China's good intention to help develop maritime infrastructures in ASEAN.
"This approach, if happens, will bring better connectivity between ports and maritime cooperation will further develop stronger economic, political and security relations between China and ASEAN," he said.
However, he said disputes on the South China Sea could be a major obstacle to such ambitious project.
"If the spats on the South China Sea have not been solved out peacefully, they will be still a major challenge for the initiative," he said.
Nguon Meng Tech, director general of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said the vision of "maritime silk road" was an ambitious approach, but it could be achievable if all sides are willing to build it.
"This is an ambitious proposal, but I believe that it can become a reality if all ASEAN nations support it...," he said. "It will be great for regional integration and prosperity."