Xi meets Lao fam­ily, re­calls time-hon­ored friend­ship

Global Times US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Sun Guangy­ong and Bai Tiantian in Vi­en­tiane

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping met Tues­day mem­bers of a Lao fam­ily with a time-hon­ored friend­ship with China, urg­ing the young gen­er­a­tion to carry on the friendly ties be­tween the two coun­tries.

Sto­ries about the friend­ship be­tween China and the fam­ily of Quinim Pholsena are widely known, Xi told the de­scen­dants of the late Lao of­fi­cial, some of whom once stud­ied with Xi at Beijing Bayi School.

Eight of the 12 Pholsena chil­dren left Laos for China af­ter their fa­ther, Quinim Pholsena, a for­mer for­eign min­is­ter of Laos, was as­sas­si­nated in 1963.

The Chi­nese pres­i­dent said he is de­lighted to re­unite once again with old school­mates and old friends.

Laos is an “iron friend” of China, Xi said, adding that he and Lao lead­ers reached new im­por­tant con­sen­sus on deep­en­ing bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion and build­ing a com­mu­nity of shared fu­ture with strate­gic sig­nif­i­cance.

He pinned high hopes

on the young gen­er­a­tion of the Pholsena fam­ily, stress­ing that the youth rep­re­sents the hope of the so­cial­ist causes of both coun­tries and the fu­ture of the China-Laos friend­ship.

The Pholse­nas, ex­cited to meet Xi, con­grat­u­lated him on be­ing re-elected gen­eral sec­re­tary of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, say­ing that as Xi’s for­mer school­mates they have al­ways closely fol­lowed China’s de­vel­op­ment.

“This is my third time to meet Pres­i­dent Xi. He is a very lovely per­son, very easy­go­ing. Dur­ing our meet­ing in June 2010, he asked about our mother. We were very touched. Some of us cried,” one of the Pholsena sis­ters said af­ter the meet­ing with Xi.

She said Xi still re­mem­bers what the Pholsena chil­dren used to wear in school and other de­tails from their school days.

Som­mad Pholsena, Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­ment and also a mem­ber of the Pholsena fam­ily, said ear­lier upon re­ceiv­ing the Lao edi­tion of Xi Jin­ping: The Gov­er­nance of China, that Laos is also in a pe­riod of rev­o­lu­tion­ary de­vel­op­ment and shares the same ideals and so­cial sys­tem with China. “Laos is ea­ger to learn from China’s ex­pe­ri­ence on gov­er­nance.”

Greater co­op­er­a­tion

Xi also met with Lao Prime Min­is­ter Thon­gloun Sisoulith and Pres­i­dent of the Lao National As­sem­bly Pany Yathotu on Tues­day be­fore con­clud­ing his state visit.

Xi and Lao Pres­i­dent Bounnhang Vo­ra­chit on Mon­day wit­nessed the sign­ing of seven co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments, in­clud­ing a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MOU) on the build­ing of a China-Laos eco­nomic cor­ri­dor, science and tech­nol­ogy co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment, an MOU on hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion, and an MOU on fi­nan­cial co­op­er­a­tion for the pro­mo­tion of small- and medium-sized en­ter­prises in Laos.

A joint in­vest­ment agree­ment for the con­struc­tion of the Vi­en­tiane-Vangvieng ex­press­way was also signed. Ex­perts noted the sig­nif­i­cance of the China-Laos eco­nomic cor­ri­dor, a new term brought up dur­ing Xi’s visit.

Som­chith Souk­sa­vath, a pro­fes­sor at the National Univer­sity of Laos, told the Global Times on Tues­day that the China-Laos eco­nomic cor­ri­dor, which is based on the China-Laos Rail­way, will cre­ate more jobs for Chi­nese and Lao work­ers and boost Laos’ cap­i­tal in­flow.

“Trade be­tween the two coun­tries will be in­creased, cre­at­ing more in­come for both sides by us­ing their com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage of their pro­duc­tion and skills,” Souk­sa­vath said.

“I think the com­ple­tion of the rail­way will im­prove Laos’ trans­port in­fra­struc­ture, fa­cil­i­tate ex­changes be­tween peo­ples of the two coun­tries, and pro­mote tourism.”

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping meets Pholsena’s fam­ily mem­bers in Vi­en­tiane on Tues­day.

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