Saturday, September 10, 2016

China to strengthen ties with Laos

By:  Xinhua News via ShanghaiDaily.com, September 10, 2016

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for the promotion of a comprehensive strategic partnership with Laos by maintaining close high-level contacts, strengthening dialogue and coordination and promoting practical cooperation in various fields.

Li was speaking at meeting with Laotian counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith yesterday following the East Asia leaders’ meetings in Laos capital Vientiane.

Li said China and Laos enjoy a high degree of political mutual trust, comprehensive economic cooperation and extensive people-to-people exchanges, which benefit people from both countries and helps maintain regional peace, stability and development.

He said China is willing to align its 13th Five-Year Plan with Laos’ 8th Five-Year Plan to promote production capacity and investment cooperation and ensure the launch of a flagship high-speed railway project before the end of the year.

The construction of an economic cooperation zone at the Mohan-Boten border crossing point and a comprehensive development zone in Vientiane should proceed, Li said, adding that large projects should play a leading role in trade cooperation and regional inter-connectivity.

The border areas of the crossing point connect Mohan in southwest China’s Yunnan Province with Boten in Laos.

China is willing to share experience with Laos in fields such as drawing development blueprints, tourism development and agricultural disaster prevention, Li said.

He also said the two countries should strengthen customs and quality control so as to increase convenience in port customs clearance, improve people-to-people exchanges in cultural, media and educational fields, and promote cooperation in defense and law enforcement.

China is willing to closely coordinate with Laos on international and regional issues, support each other, strengthen close cooperation under multilateral frameworks such as East Asia cooperation and the Lancang-Mekong River Cooperation, so as to benefit people in the two countries and the region, Li said.

Thongloun said Li’s visit was significant as the two countries are celebrating the 55th anniversary of bilateral ties and Li’s attendance at the East Asia leaders’ meetings showed great encouragement and support for Laos’ rotating presidency.

Congratulating China on successfully hosting the G20 summit in Hangzhou, Thongloun said the two countries had made great achievements in political, economic, trade and investment cooperation.

On people-to-people exchanges, he noted that more than a million Chinese tourists had visited Laos.

Meanwhile, bilateral cooperation in defense, law enforcement and regional cooperation had been making steady progress.

By participating in Laos’ infrastructure construction and helping with personnel training, China has made a great contribution to the nation’s economic and social development, Thongloun said, adding that Laos will accelerate railway cooperation and continue to create sound conditions for bilateral investment and cooperation.

After the meeting, the leaders witnessed the signing of 20 cooperation documents in fields such as trade, investment, economy, technology and education.

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