Laos backs the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) trade infrastructure expansion, Vientiane Times, the Lao state-run daily, reported on Monday.

Lao President Bounnhang Vorachit has “voiced the Lao Government’s support for the China-led Belt and Road Initiative, saying the global project will help to transform Laos from being landlocked into a land link.”

A total of 37 Heads of State and Government, the UN Secretary-General and representatives from International Organisations attended the conference, where they reviewed the implementation of the initiative.

President Bounnhang as speaking at a session of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, said that the Belt and Road Initiative was in line with the Lao Government’s policy to transform itself from being a landlocked country into a land link within the region.

One of the notable ways in which Laos is benefiting from this initiative is China’s support for the under-construction Laos-China railway, which runs from Lao-Chinese border to Lao capital Vientiane, said the report.

President Bounnhang said the Belt and Road Initiative was compatible with the Lao government’s policy because the country was ploughing ahead with its renovation policy after opening its doors to the outside world in 1986.

He also said the Lao Government viewed the initiative as being based on mutual benefit and cooperation, adding that in light of this development concept Laos believes the initiative will bring peace, stability and prosperity to the region.

After attending the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, President Bounnhang is leading a high-level Lao delegation on a State visit to China.