Xi returns with overseas successes
President says mutual trust will build up a win-win environment with Laos
President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that his visit to Laos was a success and he is “fully confident” of the future of China-Laos ties.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remark when Laotian President Bounnhang Vorachith came to his hotel to bid farewell.
Xi said that during the visit he and Bounnhang, also general secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party Central Committee, had agreed to jointly build a community of a shared future with strategic importance for the two countries and planned for cooperation to strengthen synergy of strategies and to achieve mutual benefit.
He said that the two countries should fully implement the outcomes achieved in the visit and promote better development of the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
Bounnhang said Xi’s successful visit to Laos has lifted Laos-China ties to a new level and that the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party as well as Laos are “full of expectation” for the future development of the ties.
After the meeting, the two leaders witnessed the signing of a cooperation deal between the two foreign ministries.
Xi wrapped up his two-day visit to Laos and returned to Beijing on Tuesday night.
Earlier in the day, Xi also met with Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith. Xi said China and Laos should push forward the construction of the China-Laos economic corridor and ensure smooth progress in the construction of the China-Laos railway.
Cooperation between China and Laos is highly complementary, Xi said, adding that the two countries should expand and deepen cooperation in energy resources, electric power and finance and strengthen cooperation in areas concerning people’s livelihood, including education, healthcare and poverty alleviation.
The two countries are friendly neighbors and the two peoples cherish a traditional friendship that has a long history, Xi said, adding that China will continue sticking with friendly policies toward Laos.
He emphasized the two countries should continue maintaining high-level contacts, deepen exchanges of the experience of governing the parties and the countries, strengthen cooperation in defense, law enforcement and security, and enhance friendship between the two peoples.
Also, both sides should keep enriching and developing their comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership featuring a high level of mutual trust, mutual support and mutual benefit, Xi emphasized.
Thongloun said the Laotian people had long been looking forward to Xi’s visit and that he believed the visit will promote the two countries’ comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
In a meeting in Vientian on Tuesday with Pany Yathotu, president of the Laotian National Assembly, Xi said the exchanges and cooperation between the National People’s Congress of China and the National Assembly of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is an important part of the China-Laos comprehensive strategic cooperation.
He encouraged the two countries’ legislatures to keep up the tradition of high-level exchanges.
Vientiane is the final leg of Xi’s first overseas trip after the 19th CPC National Congress.
The trip also took him to Da Nang, Vietnam, to attend the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting, and to Hanoi for a state visit.
President Xi Jinping and Laotian President Bounnhang Vorachith jointly attended a ceremony on Tuesday to start the project of modernizing a century-old hospital in Vientiane with Chinese assistance.
The two leaders laid the cornerstone for the upgrade project of Mahosot Hospital, which was the first hospital in Laos, built in 1910.
With a total cost of 700 million yuan ($105 million), the renovated hospital will have 600 beds. In addition to building a new structure, China also will donate new medical equipment to the hospital. The renovation is scheduled to be finished in 2021.
After the ceremony, Xi and Bounnhang talked with Chinese ophthalmologists who were on an assistance project to remove Laotian peoples’ cataracts for free.
Xi called the Chinese doctors ambassadors for brightness and friendship, saying they have not only brought sight to Laotian patients, but also contributed to the friendship between the people of the two countries.
With Xi and Bounnhang looking on, Chinese medical workers removed the bandages of two Laotian patients — retired teacher Malaisouk, 71, and retired soldier Khamsieng, 77 — who have recovered from treatment for cataracts.
Xi congratulated them on their regained eyesight and wished them a healthy life.
The Chinese president said he paid much attention to improving people’s livelihoods in China’s overseas assistance projects.
In Laos, China’s assistant funds will mainly be used to improve health conditions, build infrastructure for rural areas and alleviate poverty, Xi said.
The assistance should focus on not only hardware and facilities like modern buildings but also software services, Xi said. He also encouraged more policy exchanges between the health authorities of the two countries.
Bounthaphany Bounxouei, director general of Mahosot Hospital, said the hospital will be upgraded to international standards.
“We hope that it will attract more people to receive treatment at the hospital. It will also reduce people crossing the border for medical treatment in neighboring countries,” he told the Laotian Times.
Zhang Shunhua, an associate professor from Peking Union Medical College Hospital’s Ophthalmology Department, said she arrived at Mahosot Hospital on Nov 5 with 13 other Chinese doctors and nurses. The Chinese medical team is expected to conduct operations on hundreds of local cataract patients during their stay of about half a month, she said.
Since her arrival, she has completed more than 60 operations, she said.
“Compared with cases in Beijing, patients here in general had more serious conditions, which demand higher skills,” she said. “Many of them had their conditions worsened due to delays seeing a doctor.”
President Xi Jinping and Laotian President Bounnhang Vorachith place flowers during a ceremony on Tuesday marking the start of work on a hospital expansion in Vientiane, Laos, involving money and medical equipment from China.