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NEWS UPDATES 11 October 2010

China-Asean car rally departs for Thailand

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A convoy of Chinese and Asean representatives and journalists left Laos for Thailand on Friday, to continue their tour to promote cooperation and understanding between China and the Asean member countries.

This year the annual journey by the China-Asean International Touring Assembly is joined by the China-Asean Journalists Rally for visits to Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.

Chinese Ambassador Bu explained that as a result of the opening of the free trade area, direct flights between Nanning in China and Vientiane were now operating twice a week in both directions.

The Chinese government has assisted Laos with many projects, including staging last year's Southeast Asian Games in Vientiane and construction of the games venues.

The Chinese ambassador expressed her hope for the touring assembly to gain deep understanding of Laos so they can publicise the country more widely in their respective nations.

A fter setting off from Vientiane, the motorcade travelled through Thailand's Sukhothai and Ayutthaya provinces to Bangkok. Today, the assembly will leave the Thai capital for Pattaya, the final stop on their tour of Thailand before continuing to Cambodia.

The tour will conclude where it began, in Nanning in China's Quangxi Zhuang Autonomous region, the permanent host city of the China-Asean Expos and China-Asean Business and Investment Summits.

The China-Asean Touring Assembly has been organised each year since 2007 ahead of the annual China-Asean Exposition. The 2010 touring assembly and upcoming seventh China-Asean Expo are significant in that they take place during the first operational year of the free trade area, the ambassador said.

The free trade area was established on January 1, 2010, with the aim of reducing tariffs on goods traded between China and Asean countries.

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Laos and China

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