Russia willing to support ASEAN infra devt, especially ‘high-speed communication channels’

November 13, 2017 - 2:06 PM
Russian PM Medvedev addresses the ABIS in Paranaque City, Philippines, on Monday (Nov. 13, 2017). SCREENSHOT FROM LIVESTREAM OF ABIS

MANILA – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has expressed his country’s willingness to support the development of infrastructure in ASEAN, particularly airports, sea terminals, railroads, highways, tubes, powerlines, and “what is very important now in any country,” high-speed communication channels.

In his native tongue, he delivered a speech before Southeast Asian business leaders at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque City on Monday.

“We’re ready to provide to our friends all our transport capabilities,” Medvedev said, as translated.

The goal is to make transport between Asia and Europe as fast and as economically beneficial to the nations as possible, and to establish a powerful transport and industrial hub to “satisfy the needs” of Asia-Pacific. Such linkages will also transform each country into a “single economic space”.

He told the businessmen in the audience, “We invite you to participate in this development,” which he said will largely depend on the proactive private sector.

Already, Russian Railways is developing a railway system in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Meanwhile, Singapore’s Changi Airport Group is developing Russia’s Vladivostok International Airport.

Medvedev expressed hope that he will see more examples of cooperation like these.

“Russia and ASEAN have been linked for 20 years with a special form of partnership,” he said. The two have had a successful experience of project implementation on a bilateral level, particularly in the sectors of energy, transport, agriculture, and navigation, among others.

This is practical, he said, because in terms of economic growth, ASEAN is the sixth in the world and the third in Asia.

Thus, Russian entrepreneurs visit Southeast Asia and do business there regularly. He noted that from 2014 to 2017, business missions were sent to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, Myanmar and the Philippines.

“We expect to have reciprocal visits to our country. We’ll be glad to see you in Russia,” Medvedev told the audience. He added that the 2018 soccer World Cup will be held in Russia, and invited them to visit and watch the competition.

Overall trade between ASEAN and Russia amounted to over US$2 trillion last year, he said. “Our trade relations are much more modest… So we are very interested in improving those ties.”

It is important to forge ties between business representatives from the two. In this regard, he promised to continue sending business missions to ASEAN.

Meanwhile, he also touched on the “very difficult task” of moving towards the digital economy of the future.

“On the one hand, we have to give an impetus to the international cooperation in the area of digital technologies to encourage e-commerce and trans-border business. On the other hand, we have to ensure national security and the protection of information, including of personal data. And finally, we have to establish transparent rules of the games. It’s not easy to combine these two tasks,” Medvedev said. “Russia, as most countries of the Asia-Pacific region, is ready to participate in this work.”