Pres­i­dent vis­its with long­time Lao­tian friends

China Daily - - TOP NEWS - By AN BAIJIE in Vi­en­tiane an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, on a state visit to Laos, met on Tues­day with a Lao­tian fam­ily that he had come to know as a teenager when he went to school with some of them in Beijing.

Xi spoke with chil­dren and grand­chil­dren of the late Quinim Pholsena, a rev­o­lu­tion­ary leader who was for­eign min­is­ter of Laos from 1962 to 1963. Sev­eral of Pholsena’s chil­dren lived and stud­ied at Bayi School in Beijing in the 1960s, when Xi also was a stu­dent there.

Dur­ing their in­for­mal talk, Xi re­called that he had met his Lao­tian peers in sixth grade. He said he was im­pressed with how well they were dressed, with the boys in brown cor­duroy trousers and the girls of­ten in el­e­gant tra­di­tional dresses.

In a light­hearted mo­ment, Xi said he re­mem­bered that Pholsena’s sec­ond son was nick­named Chubby Boy.

Xi said that Pholsena had es­tab­lished rev­o­lu­tion­ary friend­ship with Chi­nese lead­ers of the time, in­clud­ing the late Chair­man Mao Ze­dong, adding that China-Laos friend­ship has lasted for gen­er­a­tions and be­come un­break­able.

China’s ac­cep­tance of the Lao­tian rev­o­lu­tion­ary fam­ily demon­strated that the older gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers of both sides had the strate­gic and vi­sion­ary idea of boost­ing bi­lat­eral friend­ship, Xi said.

In May 2014, China cel­e­brated the 60th an­niver­sary of its pub­lic diplo­macy or­ga­ni­za­tion, the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s As­so­ci­a­tion for Friend­ship with For­eign Coun­tries. To mark the event, Pholsena was cho­sen posthu­mously as one of the nine for­eign­ers who rep­re­sented friendly ex­changes dur­ing the 60 years of the Chi­nese pub­lic diplo­macy or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The pres­i­dent called on the peo­ple of both sides to stay true to their as­pi­ra­tions and make more con­tri­bu­tions to build­ing the com­mu­nity of a shared fu­ture of China and Laos.

Xi spoke of China’s am­bi­tious plan to lift the coun­try’s ru­ral poor out of poverty by 2020, say­ing that it is crit­i­cal for the Com­mu­nist Party of China’s goal of build­ing a moderately pros­per­ous so­ci­ety in all re­spects.

Xi also re­called meet­ing with the fam­ily mem­bers in 2010, when he was on a visit to Laos as vice-pres­i­dent. He gave them a photo of his meet­ing with the Lao­tian fam­ily in 2010. Xi re­ceived, in turn, a col­lec­tion of pho­tos about Quinim Pholsena and his fam­ily mem­bers’ in­ter­ac­tion with Chi­nese lead­ers.

Pholsena’s son Som­math Pholsena told Xi that his fam­ily felt deeply moved by Xi’s com­ments on the con­tri­bu­tions of his fa­ther in pro­mot­ing Laos-China re­la­tions.

Som­math Pholsena, who is Laos’ min­is­ter of nat­u­ral re­sources and en­vi­ron­ment, be­came teary-eyed as he spoke to Xi. He said his fam­ily could feel Xi’s af­fec­tion for them and they were moved that Xi men­tioned them in a signed ar­ti­cle pub­lished on Mon­day.

“The de­scen­dants of Quinim Pholsena stud­ied for many years in China. They spent their youth in China, and be­came wit­nesses, sup­port­ers and new ad­vo­cates of the China-Laos tra­di­tional friend­ship,” Xi said in the ar­ti­cle pub­lished by Lao­tian me­dia ahead of his state visit.

Som­math Pholsena told Xi that his fam­ily mem­bers will keep in mind Xi’s words of “stay­ing true to our orig­i­nal as­pi­ra­tion and re­mem­ber our mis­sion” and make con­tin­u­ous ef­forts to boost Laos-China friend­ship.

The min­is­ter noted China’s re­mark­able achieve­ments in the past five years and gave his con­grat­u­la­tions on the suc­cess of the 19th National Congress of the CPC and Xi’s re-elec­tion as the gen­eral sec­re­tary of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee.

LAN HONGGUANG / XIN­HUA

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping talks with the fam­ily of the late rev­o­lu­tion­ary leader Quinim Pholsena at Xi’s ho­tel in Vi­en­tiane, Laos, on Tues­day.

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