China to boost ties with Laos, ASEAN members
CHINA DAILY USA
China expects to work with ASEAN countries to promote a good relationship and send a signal of peace and stability to the world, Premier Li Keqiang said onWednesday.
Li made the remark when meeting with Laotian President BounnhangVorachith.
“China is willing to work with Laos and ASEAN countries ... to maintain and promote China-ASEAN relations and the good atmosphere of East Asian cooperation, and to send a signal of peace and stability to the world,” Li told the newLaotian president.
He also saidhewill visit Vientiane, the Laotian capital, later this year for a series of leaders’ meetings on EastAsian cooperation, as well as a summit marking the 25th anniversary of dialogue relations between China andASEAN.
Laos holds the rotating presidencyof the10-memberAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations this year, and Li said Beijing will fully support Vientiane’s work during this term.
Bounnhang Vorachith’s visit comes 10 days after Laos said it understands China’s stance on the South China Sea issue.
During a visit to Laos by ForeignMinisterWang Yi on April 23, Beijing and Vientiane reached CANADA consensus that disputes over some of the Nansha Islands and reefs are not an issue between China and ASEAN, and should not affect the development of these relations.
A ruling by an international arbitration body in a process launched unilaterally by the Philippines challenging China’s territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea is expected within weeks.
China has said repeatedly it will neither accept nor take part in the process.
Bounnhang Vorachith, who was elected president two weeks ago, said the new leadership of the Laotian Party and government highly values its ties withChina.
Li encouraged the two neighbors to push forward cooperation projects, which he said are led by major ones such as the China-Laos railway.
The rail line, on which construction started late last year, will linkKunming, thecapital of Yunnan province, to Vientiane.
“There are hardly any railways in Laos ... so you can imagine the importance of the railway to the nation,” said Wang Yuzhu, a researcher of Southeast Asia at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
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