Xi, Thongloun laud China-Laos political trust, achievements in trade and BRI connectivity during meeting
Published: Dec 01, 2022 01:00 AM Updated: Dec 01, 2022 01:05 AM
China Laos Photo:VCG


China and Laos will respect and trust each other politically, benefit each other economically, deepen mutual understanding and amity in the people-to-people exchanges, and contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, the top leaders of the two countries vowed during a meeting in Beijing on Wednesday.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Chinese president, held talks Wednesday with Thongloun Sisoulith, general secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee and Lao president.

The two leaders first expressed deep condolences over the passing away of Comrade Jiang Zemin, former leader of China. Xi said that Comrade Jiang Zemin passed away on Wednesday in Shanghai due to illness after all medical treatments had failed. Thongloun expressed deep condolences over the death of Comrade Jiang, saying that it is a huge loss for the CPC and the Chinese people, and the LPRP and the Lao people feel the same way.

Xi said that since 2021, the two countries have maintained close communication through various means and reached important consensus on the development of China-Laos relations and the building of a community with a shared future. Xi said that he is ready to work with Thongloun to deepen the building of a China-Laos community with a shared future and achieve solid, steady and lasting progress to bring more benefits to the two peoples and promote regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.

A deeper exchange between the political parties has resulted in a closer relationship between China and Laos, which has entered a very good stage, experts said.

On November 12, Premier Li Keqiang met with Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh when attending the Leaders' Meetings on East Asia Cooperation in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

Thongloun's visit right after the meeting further demonstrates the profound friendship between the two countries, Ge Hongliang, director of the China-ASEAN Maritime Security Research Center at Guangxi University for Nationalities, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

During the meeting, Xi introduced the main achievements of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said that the Congress has elaborated on major issues such as opening up a new realm of adapting Marxism to China and the times, put forward the mission of the CPC in the new era, and stressed the need to comprehensively build a modern socialist country and promote the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

For his part, Thongloun said that at a time when the world is undergoing complex changes, China is a mainstay in maintaining world peace and stability and is committed to promoting the common development of mankind and building a community with a shared future for mankind.

At the end of the talks, the two presidents witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation documents covering political parties, economy and trade, finance, culture and education and regional development.

China and Laos agreed to build a community of a shared future with strategic importance during President Xi's state visit to the Southeast Asian country in 2017. The two countries signed an action plan to build the China-Laos community with a shared future in 2019. In recent years, the two countries have accelerated the alignment of their development strategies and advanced the construction of the China-Laos Economic Corridor.

Since the signing of the action plan in 2019, China and Laos have achieved fruitful results in cooperation. Thongloun pointed out that the smooth progress of important projects supported by China in Laos, especially the completion of the China-Laos Railway, has played an important role in boosting Laos' economic development.

Experts pointed out that the cooperation between the two countries, particularly in infrastructure construction, could draw much attention from other Southeast Asian countries and set a very good example for them.

The completion of the China-Laos Railway will see increased cross-border exchanges between China and the ASEAN members, which will provide more opportunities to the entire region in economic and industrial development, Ge said. "This proves that the development model advocated by China has successfully helped other developing countries achieve industrial upgrading, economic development and social progress."

The two sides also agreed to advance law enforcement, security and defense cooperation to promote regional connectivity and coordinated development, and expand exchanges and cooperation in science and technology, education, culture, tourism and health.

The close cooperation between China and Laos has attracted the attention of some Western media outlets. When reporting on the China-Laos Railway, VOA published an article entitled "Laos faces debt crisis after borrowing billions from China" on July 1.

The "debt trap" hyped by some Western media outlets is based on their inherent prejudice, Xu Liping, director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

"The cooperation model between China and Laos has three features - it focuses on development, adheres to a people-centric approach, and can provide pragmatic results," Xu said. "What these Western media outlets are always trying to promote is a kind of egoism. They don't understand or believe in win-win solutions. But the nature of China-Laos cooperation disproves their argument."

During the meeting on Wednesday, Xi said that China will encourage more Chinese companies to invest in Laos and welcome more quality products from Laos to enter the Chinese market.

China will continue to help Laos alleviate its current difficulties, Xi said, noting that China is ready to deepen coordination and cooperation with Laos within the framework of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and China-ASEAN mechanism to promote the common values of mankind.

Thongloun also expressed the hope that the two parties and relevant departments and institutions of the two countries could link the Belt and Road Initiative more profoundly with Laos' strategy of transforming a landlocked country into a land-linked country, so as to promote greater development of Laos-China relations.