The top leader of Laos is expected to visit China next week, in a trip that will 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 CommitteeLao People's Revolutionary Party Central Committee and president of Laos, will be in China from Nov 29 to Dec 1, his first trip to the nation since taking up these positions 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.
After a round of trips to China by foreign leaders since the end of the 20th CPC National Congress, the world wants to learn about its plans for future development, according to a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' National Institute of International Strategy. She said that the world will be informed about China's opening-up policy and will share the dividends of the country's development through these visits to China.
China and Laos have 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. Their bilateral trade reached $4.35 billion last year.
Zhang said that an in-person meeting between the leaders will enable the two nations to have more discussions about 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 meeting between the top leaders of China and Laos since 2019 when Xi met with Bounnhang Vorachith, who was then general secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party Central CommitteeLao People's Revolutionary Party Central Committee and Lao president.
Dec 3 will be the anniversary of the opening of the China-Laos Railway. The 1,035 kilometer railway 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 Belt and Road Initiative.
As of early November, the China-Laos Railway had delivered more than 10 million metric tons of freight, helping to bring various commodities into and out of the landlocked country, according to the China State Railway Group.
There is still greater potential still to be realized from the China-Laos Railway, given the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic, according to Zhang, from the CASS.
During Thongloun's visit, the two sides can discuss how to better coordinate with each other in aspects such as customs clearance, logistics and quarantine inspection to make the best use of the railway, she said.
In a congratulatory message sent to Xi on his re-election as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee in October, Thongloun expressed his willingness to work together with Xi to build a community with a shared future in order to bring more benefits to both countries and their peoples.