China and Laos to push rail, eco­nomic projects

Pre­mier Li says 2 sides should link strate­gies for de­vel­op­ment and boost co­op­er­a­tion

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By AN BAIJIE and QIN JIZE Zou Shuo con­trib­uted to this story. Con­tact the writ­ers at an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China is will­ing to make joint ef­forts with Laos to push for­ward ma­jor co­op­er­a­tive projects in ar­eas in­clud­ing rail­ways and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment zones, Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang said on Mon­day.

Li met with Lao­tian Prime Min­is­ter Thon­gloun Sisoulith in Bei­jing, and the two lead­ers wit­nessed the sign­ing of two co­op­er­a­tive doc­u­ments be­tween the two coun­tries cov­er­ing bor­der trade and joint de­vel­op­ment of an eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion zone.

The two coun­tries should en­hance co­op­er­a­tion in ar­eas in­clud­ing pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity, in­vest­ment, agri­cul­ture, fi­nance and na­tional de­fense, Li said, adding that China would like to con­nect the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment strat­egy with that of Laos.

China hopes that Laos will make con­tin­u­ous ef­forts for the healthy and steady de­vel­op­ment of ties be­tween China and the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions, of which Laos is a mem­ber, Li said.

The rail­way project link­ing Laos with China is of great im­por­tance to Laos, and the Lao­tian gov­ern­ment will push for im­ple­ment­ing the project, Thon­gloun said.

“We have now met three times since I as­sumed of­fice seven months ago,” Thon­gloun told Li. The two lead­ers held talks for the first time in July dur­ing the Eura­sia lead­ers’ meet­ing in Mon­go­lia. They also met in Septem­ber dur­ing Li’s of­fi­cial visit to Laos.

Liu Zhen­min, vice-for­eign min­is­ter, said that dur­ing the meet­ing, Li and Thon­gloun ex­changed views on ar­eas in­clud­ing agri­cul­tural trade, fi­nance and pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion.

China agreed to help Laos im­prove the coun­try’s in­fra­struc­ture to boost in­ter­con­nec­tion, Liu told re­porters af­ter the sign­ing cer­e­mony.

This is Thon­gloun’s first visit to China since tak­ing of­fice in April. He made an of­fi­cial visit to China in Au­gust 2011 when he was Lao­tian deputy prime min­is­ter and for­eign min­is­ter. Thon­gloun will meet with Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping on Thurs­day.

The four-day visit will also take Thon­gloun to cen­tral China’s Hu­nan prov­ince.

Begin­ning in the 1980s, many Hu­nan na­tives have gone to Laos to seek busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties. They started from scratch in the hard­ware in­dus­try and grad­u­ally be­came in­flu­en­tial forces in such in­dus­tries as mo­tor­cy­cles and mo­tor­cy­cle parts, su­per­mar­kets and mo­bile phone sales, ac­cord­ing to Xin­hua News Agency.

Ac­cord­ing to the Eco­nomic and Com­mer­cial Coun­sel­lor’s Of­fice of the Chi­nese em­bassy in Laos, Chi­nese have in­vested in 764 projects in the coun­try in in­dus­tries in­clud­ing min­eral prod­ucts, agri­cul­ture, elec­tric­ity, ar­ti­facts and tourism.

Among these projects, 552 are funded by Chi­nese com­pa­nies, while 212 have in­vest­ments from both coun­tries. China has be­come Laos’ big­gest source of for­eign in­vest­ment.

Song Yinghui, a re­searcher in South­east Asian stud­ies at the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, said Oc­to­ber is the end of Laos’ fis­cal year. Choos­ing to visit China at the end of Novem­ber shows that “Laos has high ex­pec­ta­tions of bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in the com­ing fis­cal year”, Song said.

“As close neigh­bors, and since both are de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, Laos wants to learn China’s rich ex­pe­ri­ence in re­form and open­ing up and govern­ing,” she added.

As close neigh­bors, and since both are de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, Laos wants to learn China’s rich ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Song Yinghui, a re­searcher in South­east Asian stud­ies at the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions

FENG YONGBIN/ CHINA DAILY

Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang meets with his Lao­tian coun­ter­part, Prime Min­is­ter Thon­gloun Sisoulith, at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple in Bei­jing on Mon­day. China and Laos signed two co­op­er­a­tive doc­u­ments dur­ing the meet­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.