China to ensure open economy ahead amid protectionism: ex-Thai deputy PM



**By APD writer Juicy Chan **

BANGKOK, April 8 (APD) -- China is making a leadership role in ensuring globalization, free trade and open economy on the way forward amid the world's rising protectionism, said Surakiat Sathirathai, former Thai Deputy Prime Minister said on Saturday in an interview with APD.

Surakiat appreciated the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China, believing it a key to ensure open economy could continue.

“Belt and Road Initiative” connects countries through rail and road, airports and seaports, bringing a much easier way for people to do business and creating jobs as well as income, which opens up the economy, said the former deputy prime minister before attending the Boao Forum for Asia in China.

"Beyond mega projects, it connects people and promotes cross-culture exchanges as well as good understandings. Most importantly, it includes the digital connectivity. Belt and Road initiative aims to foster linkages between countries and people as we enter the disruptive technology era or the fourth industrial revolution." said Surakiat, saying it will be the major initiative to counter the sentiment of the rise of protectionism.

Belt and Road is an initiative that has been concretized, and I hope China will continue to undertake this leadership role and show to the world that the initiative encompasses many aspects to ensure the stakeholders of the Belt and Road would understand and work together, said Surakiat, the Chairman of Asia Peace and Reconciliation Council, adding that the Initiative does not only belong to China and countries along, but to everyone.

Surakiat expects the Boao Forum for Asia 2018 to talk out how the international community can work together to ensure open economy will not be disrupted by the trade war and anti-globalization in America and European countries.

Themed around “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity”, the Boao Forum for Asia, high-level forums for leaders from government, business and academia in Asia and other continents will last from April 8 to April 11.