SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Calling China a "connectivity powerhouse," U.S. expert on China David Lampton said the rail lines being built to link China and Southeast Asia is a "win-winism."
"It's true the world needs more infrastructure," Lampton, research scholar at Stanford University's Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Lampton's current book project is focused on China and Southeast Asia's efforts to build high speed- and conventional rail lines between southern China and several continental Southeast Asian neighbors, as well as the island country of Singapore. His work involves interviews and field research in eight countries.
"Build roads and economic growth will follow, so people who believe that tend to believe infrastructure development is a 'win-winism,'" said Lampton, also Hyman Professor of China Studies and director of the China Studies Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Having accompanied American public and private sector leaders to China, and Chinese leaders to the United States, Lampton has long-time experience on the front lines of efforts to foster constructive U.S.-China engagement.
Over the past decades, China has been continuously developing its transportation infrastructure, he said.
The country saw an expanding high-speed railway network over the years, with a total length of 29,000 km by the end of 2018, accounting for more than two-thirds of the world's total high-speed railway, according to China's top railway operator China Railway.
China will play a bigger role in a more multilateral world, reflected in the new institutions initiated by China, like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, said Lampton.
Furthermore, Southeast Asian countries have huge populations that frequently travel from one point to another and therefore need investments in transportation infrastructure, he said.
"China can accelerate the growth rates," said Lampton. "We have people rapidly moving into the middle-class, and what's good for them economically would be good for us."