Laos, China agree to deepen ties, ink 17 deals

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - President Bounnhang Vorachit and visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to work together to take the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between Laos and China to a new level.

President Xi, who is General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and his delegation arrived in Vientiane yesterday for a two-day state visit at the invitation of President Bounnhang, also Secretary General of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee.

An official welcoming ceremony took place at the Presidential Palace where President Bounnhang welcomed the Chinese leader and his delegation.

In a bilateral meeting held shortly after the welcoming ceremony, President Bounnhang warmly welcomed the Chinese leader and his delegation, according to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The leaders witnessed the signing of 17 cooperation agreements, which will further deepen and broaden cooperation between Laos and China.

These included a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the building of a Laos-China economic corridor, science and technology cooperation agreement, MOU on human resource development cooperation, and an MOU on financial cooperation for the promotion of small and medium enterprises in Laos.

A joint investment agreement for construction of the Vientiane-Vangvieng Expressway, which is part of the planned Vientiane-Boten Expressway project, was also signed.

Loan agreements for electricity transmission line projects and an MOU on assistance over the next three years were also signed.

The Chinese side announced the provision of financial assistance amounting to 4 billion yuan (5,011 billion kip) over the next three years.

President Bounnhang said he highly valued President Xi’s state visit to Laos as part of his first overseas trip following the 19th National Congress of the CPC.

He congratulated President Xi on his re-election as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee by the Congress.

President Bounnhang said he highly valued the Chinese leader’s visit, which reflects the fact that the CPC and the government of China attach great importance to the traditional relations and comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two parties, states and peoples.

“This visit has developed bilateral relations to a new height,” President Bounnhang was quoted as saying.

The Lao leader also praised the successful outcomes of the 19th National Congress of the CPC.

He expressed confidence that, under the leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people would achieve greater successes in building a socialist nation that is prosperous, strong, harmonious, democratic, civilised and beautiful.

President Bounnhang, representing the Party, state and people of Laos, expressed sincere gratitude to the Party, state and people of China for the valuable assistance they have extended to the Lao national independent movement and ongoing national protection and construction.

For his part, President Xi expressed heartfelt thanks to President Bounnhang, other Lao leaders and Vientiane residents for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation.

The Chinese leader expressed his pleasure at leading a high-level delegation of the Party and state of China to visit Laos following his re-election, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Both sides congratulated each other on the great achievements they have made in national socio-economic development under the leadership of their respective parties.

Both sides expressed deep appreciation for the bilateral relations and all-round cooperation between the two neighbours over past years, which have progressively broadened and deepened.

As good neighbours, good friends, good comrades and good partners, Laos and China have adhered to the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

Leaders of the two countries, which are both ruled by communist parties and share a common destiny, have described the bilateral relationship as ‘inseparable’.

“President Xi insists that the People’s Republic of China will work with the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to continue enhancing bilateral relations and cooperation for greater fruitful achievements,” the ministry said in the press release.   

The leaders noted that Laos and China have long enjoyed all-round good relations and cooperation, which has consistently developed, bringing tangible benefits to the two peoples.

They agreed that Laos and China maintain regular contacts and exchanges of visits by leaders of the two parties and states.

The leaders further agreed that both sides should intensify the cooperation mechanism in a more effective manner.

In addition, the two sides will continue efforts to realise the cooperation plan for 2016-2020 between the two parties in order to train executive-level personnel of the Lao Party and state in China. 

They also agreed to intensify cooperation in land connectivity in an attempt to transform Laos from a landlocked country into a land link, in line with the One Belt, One Road Initiative instigated by President Xi.

President Xi invited President Bounnhang to visit China at his convenience.

President Bounnhang hosted a banquet dinner for the Chinese leader and his delegation.