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Lao leader Thongloun to visit China

By Mo Jingxi | China Daily | Updated: 2022-11-25 06:54
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Trip set to deepen political mutual trust, tap potential for practical cooperation

The top leader of Laos is set to visit China next week, in a trip that is expected to deepen political mutual trust and tap potential for practical cooperation between the two countries.

Thongloun Sisoulith, general secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party Central Committee and president of Laos, will pay a state visit to China from Nov 29 to Dec 1, his first trip to the nation since taking up these posts earlier this year.

The three-day visit is at the invitation of Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Chinese president, Hu Zhaoming, spokesman for the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, said on Thursday.

Zhang Jie, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' National Institute of International Strategy, said, "The visit, following a round of trips to China by foreign leaders since the conclusion of the 20th CPC National Congress, shows that the world is eager to strengthen its ties with China and learn about its plans for future development."

Through these visits to China, the world will be better informed on China's opening-up policy and will share the dividends of the country's development, she said.

As close neighbors and socialist countries, China and Laos have constantly deepened their trade and economic ties in recent years, with China being the second-largest trading partner of Laos and its largest provider of foreign direct investment. Last year, their bilateral trade reached $4.35 billion.

Zhang said that an in-person meeting between the leaders will enable the two nations to have more discussions on how to transform their political consensus into concrete actions to deepen cooperation in areas such as agriculture, infrastructure, digital economy and green development.

This will be the first such meeting between the top leaders of China and Laos since 2019, when Xi met in Beijing with Bounnhang Vorachith, who was then general secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party Central Committee and Lao president.

Dec 3 will mark the anniversary of the opening of the China-Laos Railway. The 1,035-kilometer rail line that runs from Kunming, Yunnan province, to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is the largest project in the Southeast Asian nation completed under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

According to China State Railway Group, the China-Laos Railway had delivered more than 10 million metric tons of freight as of early November, helping to bring various kinds of commodities in and out of the landlocked country.

Zhang, from the CASS, said that given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, greater potential still remains to be realized from the China-Laos Railway.

"During Thongloun's visit, the two sides can further discuss how to better coordinate with each other in aspects such as customs clearance, logistics and quarantine inspection to make best use of the railway," she said.

In a congratulatory message sent to Xi on his reelection as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee in October, Thongloun expressed his willingness to work with Xi in jointly leading and promoting the building of a community with a shared future in order to bring more benefits to the two countries and their peoples.

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