The China-Laos Relationship: the action plan on building a community with a shared future for both countries signed in April will guide the long-term development of China-Laos relations, opening up a new era of bilateral ties, Chinese Ambassador to Laos Jiang Zaidong said recently.

According to the Chinese Ambassador, with the implementation of the action plan, the two countries have witnessed continuous progress in building a community with a shared future.

The top leaders of both sides have maintained the tradition of annual meetings, and the two sides have carried out all-round, multi-level and mechanism based exchanges and dialogues, said Jiang.

Ambassador Jiang
Photo: China’s Ambassador to Laos, Jiang Zaidong.

The two sides have also strengthened cooperation in defence and public security, closely coordinated in regional and international affairs, and effectively safeguarded common interests, he said.

Both sides have accelerated the synergy of the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and Laos’ strategy to transform from a landlocked country to a land linked hub, he said, noting that the construction of the China-Laos Railway, a major project under the BRI, has been carried out smoothly and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

The Vientiane-Vangvieng Expressway, invested and constructed by Chinese companies, is progressing smoothly and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, said the ambassador.

In the first three quarters of this year, the bilateral trade volume between China and Laos reached 2.86 billion U.S. dollars, with a year-on-year increase of 18.7 percent, and China has become Laos’ second-largest trading partner and the largest source of foreign investment, he noted.

As of this year, the number of Lao students who have received Chinese government scholarships has surpassed 4,000, ranking among the top in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, he said.

Laos is witnessing a rising enthusiasm for the Chinese language, with the Lao Chinese Cultural Center and the Confucius Institute at the National University of Laos becoming the new platforms for cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries, he said.

In the first three quarters of 2019, the Visit China-Laos Year, the number of Chinese visitors to Laos reached 757,000, with a year-on-year increase of 26 percent, said the ambassador, adding the number for the whole year is expected to hit a new high.

Jiang said that with the development of China-Laos relations, the friendly exchanges between the two peoples have become closer

Since 2002, 11 teams of Chinese youth volunteers have come to Laos to engage in Chinese teaching, physical education, medical and health, and information technology exchange and support, he said, adding since 2004, more than 400 Chinese language teaching volunteers have gone far into the remote and poverty-stricken areas of Laos to teach in primary and secondary schools.

The ambassador said he was deeply moved by the fact that after a traffic accident involving Chinese tourists in August this year, people from both countries went to the hospital immediately to take care of the wounded, and donated money and materials.

This year, many provinces in Laos suffered from major floods, and the Chinese enterprises in Laos made full use of their advantages to help rebuild bridges and roads, besides organising donation for the flood victims, Jiang said.

The peoples of the two countries have always been looking after each other, demonstrating the people-to-people exchanges and laying a solid foundation for the building of the community with a shared future for the two countries, he said.