VIENTIANE, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) — “Laos and China have had good relationship for a long time as we share a border. Both governments have collaborated consistently and China has supported Laos’ socio-economic development efforts,” Viengthavisone Thepphachanh, a Lao lawmaker said recently to the media.
On the occassion of the upcoming state visit to Laos by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also the general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Lao state-run media Vientiane Times has interviewed the Lao National Assembly (NA) members for their views on the benefits of the growing ties between Laos and China.
China is the largest investor in Laos, Viengthavisone, who is a National Assembly member for Savannakhet province, said, adding that China provides many forms of assistance, help with road building to improve infrastructure, and supports the development of human resources in Laos.
Sharing the same view with Viengthavisone, National Assembly member for Luang Prabang province Thongchanh Manixay said Laos and China enjoy strong cooperation and have helped each other a great deal, “so we have close relationship.”
“We have cooperated in many sectors recently and there are many other areas that we need to develop to make the relationship stronger,” he said, adding that China is a well-developed country and Laos should follow its example in many fields, especially in economics.
“China experienced economic difficulties in the past but after a short time they reversed the situation and their economy is now very strong. Laos should follow their example,” he noted.
Talking about China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Somdy Keodalavin, a National Assembly member for Vientiane province, said the two countries have close cooperation under the initiative.
“Laos and China are neighboring countries so we have a lot of cooperation and a strong relationship in developing human resources, education and other sectors. We also have close cooperation in economic affairs and business investment.”
On the railway project under the Belt and Road Initiative, Somday said “Our largest joint project at present is the railway that’s being built from Vientiane to the Chinese border. This is the first project of its kind in Laos and I’m sure it will be a great step forward in developing our country.”
The legislator also said that there are many things about China that Laos can learn from, such as planning in politics, policies, and administration system.
Taking cultural cooperation for an example, Savankhone Razmountry, a National Assemble member for Saravan province, said “Our two countries have a longstanding friendship and we have excellent cooperation, especially through exchange programs in the field of journalism. Several Lao journalists have been for studies and training in China to improve their skills. In the future, the cooperation and relationship between our countries will strengthen.”
“Recently there have been Chinese exhibitions and performances in Laos that have enabled us to learn about each other’s history,” he was quoted as saying.
According to Savankhone, as the year 2018 is Visit Laos Year, what both countries must do is to promote tourism and encourage business operators from China to visit Laos and invest in tourism as Laos and China are neighboring countries.