Source: Vientiane Times
President Thongloun Sisoulith has praised the growing cooperative relations between Laos and China, specifically between Yunnan province and the northern provinces of Laos following the opening of the Laos-China Railway in 2021.
The president expressed his appreciation for the two countries’ closer ties at a meeting on Friday with the Secretary of the Communist Party of China Committee in Yunnan province, Wang Ning, during a visit to Kunming.
The president asked the Yunnan leadership to further strengthen their collaboration with Lao authorities to pursue the fulfillment of development programs agreed to by the top leaders of Laos and China.
Mr. Thongloun highlighted the importance of cooperation in human resource development and identified new cooperation programs based on the potential offered by the two countries.
Yunnan shares borders with the ASEAN member countries Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and serves as China’s gateway to South and Southeast Asia.
Huge potential is offered by the Laos-China Railway to boost trade, investment, and other economic activities between China and ASEAN countries.
In recent years, businesses in Yunnan province have invested in several development projects in Laos, notably the Vientiane-Vangvieng expressway, Saysettha Development Zone, Yunnan province agriculture investment project, and the Boten Special Economic Zone.
There is also great potential for more foreign investment in Lao agriculture, especially for the cultivation of crops and the farming of cattle for sale to China, which has a market of 1.4 billion people, thanks to trade privileges extended by China to Laos.
On Thursday, representing the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Li Xi, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee, visited President Thongloun in Kunming.
Xinhua quoted Li as saying that China is willing to work with Laos to implement the important consensus reached by Xi and Thongloun, deepen exchanges and mutual learning on governance, strengthen exchanges and cooperation to combat corruption and promote new development of the two parties and countries.
Li also said China-Laos relations had maintained a high level of development in recent years under the strategic guidance and promotion of the top leaders of the two countries.
China is Laos’ second largest trading partner. Trade between the neighboring countries from 2018 and 2022 was valued at US$15.9 billion, an average annual increase of 15.63 percent.
As of March this year, China is also the largest foreign investor in Laos, with the value of Chinese investments in concessions and special economic zones amounting to US$13.67 billion, spread across 921 projects.
During his visit, President Thongloun visited agricultural projects, places of natural beauty, and historical interest in Kunming.