Writing new chapter for ties
China and Laos are taking their relations to higher level in the post-pandemic era
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Laos. Over the past six decades, the friendship between the two countries has withstood the vicissitudes of the international landscape to become even stronger.
China-Laos ties are not bilateral relations in the general sense, as they form a community with a shared future and extensive common interests, President Xi Jinping said in 2013.
Following the novel coronavirus outbreak that developed into a severe pandemic last year, bilateral relations between the two countries have deepened, thanks to joint efforts by the ruling parties and peoples of both countries, with high-level strategic guidance being a fundamental guarantee and significant advantage for their respective efforts to control the virus.
Ever since the novel coronavirus broke out, President Xi has communicated with the top leader of Laos by phone and through letters, sharing China's experience and injecting strong momentum for the two countries to take their relations forward.
Guided by their high-level strategies, China and Laos uphold the spirit of a community with a shared future in the fight against the virus. At the critical moment of China's fight, people from all walks of life in Laos did their best to help China, offering batches of anti-pandemic assistance, including $700,000 in cash.
Less than five days after Laos announced its first confirmed case and requested China's assistance, the first group of Chinese experts flew to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. A second group arrived soon after to help it form a complete set of tailored plans ranging from preventing imported cases to curbing the spread of COVID-19, helping Laos make its pandemic prevention and control in a more scientific and standardized way.
A COVID-19 nucleic acid testing laboratory built by the Chinese side has been handed over and put into operation in Laos, comprehensively improving the Southeast Asian country's ability to detect the virus.
The first batch of China-donated COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Vientiane on Feb 8. At the handover ceremony, Laotian Vice-President Phankham Viphavanh expressed his sincere gratitude and spoke highly of China's efforts to build a global community of health for all and its sense of responsibility.
China is glad that Laos is one of the countries with the most remarkable achievements in pandemic prevention and control in the region.
With the normalization of the pandemic prevention and control measures, the two countries are actively coordinating their pandemic control work and economic recoveries, and making good use of the fast track service for personnel exchanges, and speeding up the resumption of work and production.
Thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, the construction of a community with a shared future between China and Laos has overcome the impact of the pandemic and is on a fast track.
Despite the economic downturn triggered by the pandemic, China's investment in Laos has risen, reaching $1.163 billion in the first 10 months of 2020, a year-on-year increase of more than 20 percent.
The Vientiane-Vang Vieng expressway has opened to traffic. The tunnel for the China-Laos Railway Project has been completed and half of the total track has been laid. The railway is expected to commence operations soon.
Eight China-aid projects in Laos have progressed in an orderly manner and pilot poverty reduction projects have been inaugurated in demonstration villages. Laos' first modern refinery, jointly built by the two sides, has been officially put into operation, helping Laos enhance its capacity for independent development.
The two countries have successfully fulfilled their responsibilities as co-chairs of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, promoted the adoption of the Vientiane Declaration, and made new contributions for and injected positive energy into regional development cooperation during the pandemic.
This year also marks another milestone for the development of bilateral ties. The Communist Party of China will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding and China will embark on a new journey to fully build a modern socialist country. The Lao People's Revolutionary Party held its 11th National Congress in February, marking a new stage in the country's national and socialist development.
China will take this opportunity to implement the action plan on building a China-Laos community with a shared future, which was signed by the heads of the two countries' ruling parties, resolutely implement the requirements put forward by the top leaders of the two parties and two countries, so as to write a new chapter for relations between the two parties and nations in the new era, and bring more benefits to the two peoples.
The ruling parties of both China and Laos uphold a people-centered development philosophy and regard people's yearning for a better life as their goal. The Chinese side is willing to learn from and help support the Lao people's efforts to create a brighter future.
China is still the largest developing country, and the CPC has always regarded development as the top priority of governing and rejuvenating the country while Laos is making efforts to get rid of its backwardness and faces tough reform and development tasks.
The Chinese side is also willing to work with Laos to strengthen the synergy of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Laos' strategy to transform from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub, advance the development of the China-Laos Economic Corridor, and ensure that a community with a shared future between the two countries strikes root and bears fruit.
The author is the Chinese ambassador to Laos. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.