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Asean 'has role in developing internet'

China's top internet censor has called on Asean members to help build a regional information superhighway and help evolve international technical standards for the internet.

Lu Wei, minister for the Cyberspace Administration of China, made the remarks at the opening of a two-day forum on the internet at the annual China-Asean Expo in Nanning, Guangxi.

"China sincerely hopes to join with Asean to cooperate in cyberspace, jointly building a China-Asean information port based in Guangxi," Xinhua quoted Lu as said.

The port would be an information hub for the "21st century maritime silk road" and a community of common destiny. 

"Cooperation cannot exist without information sharing," Lu said, proposing that both sides hasten infrastructure construction for an information superhighway sharing financial information, disaster assessment and other information. 

At the same time, Lu sounded a cautious note: "[We must ensure that] the internet serves the interests more of developing countries, but at the same time respects national territory in cyberspace and does not infringe on each country's sovereign rights in the area of information technology," Lu said.

Members should also help to prevent the internet becoming a "terrorist breeding ground", he added. 

He also reiterated China's pledge to invest in information infrastructure across the region.

"With the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank under way, we would like to make information infrastructure one of our major investment areas, especially to bring internet access to rural areas," Lu said.

China last year proposed setting up the US$50 billion bank, and contributed half of its initial capital.

Keith Zhai in Nanning, Guangxi