China, Laos ready to deepen cooperation on BRI, COVID-19

China and Laos are ready to strengthen cooperation with on jointly building the Belt and Road while enhancing cooperation on the fight against COVID-19, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said when meeting with his Lao counterpart Saleumxay Kommasith in Vientiane on Wednesday.

During the meeting, Wang reiterated China’s support to Laos in the fight against COVID-19 by restating the two countries are friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers, and brothers committed to pushing forward the cause of socialism.

Wang thanked the generous assistance from Laos when China was combating the first disease outbreak. He assured Saleumxay that China is ready to strengthen COVID-19 cooperation with Laos by continue sharing experiences and providing necessary medical supplies and vaccines to the country.

According to Wang, the two sides have agreed to enhance strategic communication, work jointly to promote the building of a community with a shared future between the two countries, and accelerate bilateral cooperation in the economic field to inject more impetus into the two countries’ national development.

China is offering a reduction of tariffs for imported products from Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. Some 97 percent of all products from these specific ASEAN nations can now be imported to China duty-free.

The economic cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative will facilitate Laos economic recovery, noted Wang.

The two sides also agreed to strengthen people-to-people exchanges as well as coordination and collaboration in international and regional affairs, and develop synergy between the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.

Saleumxay hailed the longstanding friendship between China and Laos and voiced appreciation of China’s valuable support to Laos in the fight against COVID-19.

Reaffirming Laos’ solid support on issues concerning China’s core interests, Saleumxay said his country will work with China to build a community with a shared future, and actively implement major cooperation projects.

The Lao foreign minister also pledged that Laos will make concerted efforts to push forward China’s relationship with ASEAN.

The two sides initiated a “green channel” for personnel exchange and has agreed to establish the same channel for cargo transportation.

On the same day, Wang also met with Lao President Bounnhang Vorachit, who is also general secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party Central Committee in Vientiane.

Wang delivered China’s appreciation to the president for always standing firmly with China on issues of major concern.

China is ready to enhance solidarity and cooperation with Laos in tackling all challenges and push forward the bilateral relations.