The “2019 China-Laos Year of Tourism” opened with an event in Vientiane, Laos on Friday. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the event, highlighting the two countries’ relationship and calling for enhancing Belt and Road cooperation.

In his message, Xi noted that China views Laos as an old friend. The two countries have always supported each other, and have conducted comprehensive economic cooperation, Xi said.

China is willing to work with Laos to deepen cooperation, synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with Lao’s development strategy and eventually push forward the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation between the two countries, Xi stressed.

Xi also pointed out that both China and Laos enjoy a long history and beautiful scenery. He hopes that both countries would take this opportunity to strengthen people-to-people and cultural exchanges, so as to consolidate the foundation for the development of bilateral ties. He called for joint efforts to build a community of shared future between China and Laos.

The China-Laos Year of Tourism was one of the important consensuses reached by Xi and his Lao counterpart President Boungnang Vorachith during his visit to China in May 2018.

China and Laos will hold exhibitions, performances, forums, training sessions and other activities through the year in order to enhance mutual understanding between the two peoples and promote bilateral communication and cooperation, Xi added.