Chinese President Xi Jinping and Lao President Bounnhang Vorachit agreed to promote the building of a China-Laos community with a shared future and usher in a new era for bilateral relations on Tuesday.

President Xi, also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Bounnhang, also General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee, signed an action plan to build the China-Laos Community with a shared future between the two parties in Beijing.

Calling the signing of the action plan an opportunity, Xi said China is willing to work with Laos to further develop bilateral ties in the new era.

Bounnhang is on a state visit to China after attending the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in Beijing last week.

The two countries should accelerate the alignment of their development strategies and advance the construction of the China-Laos Economic Corridor, President Xi told Bounnhang, calling for efforts to increase the influence and demonstration efforts of the under-construction China-Laos Railway.

Bounnhang said Laos is firmly committed to deepening its traditional friendship with China.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has provided an important platform for signatory countries to strengthen connectivity, he added, noting that the initiative is playing a significant role in boosting economic development in the region and the world.

Laos will continue to facilitate the construction of a railway linking the two countries and other bilateral cooperation projects, he said.

Proposed by Xi in 2013, the BRI comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes.

China and Laos signed an inter-governmental Memorandum of Understanding on their Cooperation under the BRI during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to the Southeast Asian country in September 2016.

Speaking at a Session of the Second BRF, Bounnhang said the BRI was in line with the Lao Government’s Policy to transform itself from being a landlocked country into a land link within the Region.