ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Laos, China agree to cement strategic partnership
Laos and China have signed a number of cooperation documents relating to the further development of their comprehensive strategic partnership and the future of their economic cooperation.
The agreements were signed during an official goodwill visit to China by Lao President and Secretary General of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, Choummaly Sayasone, from September 26-30 in response to an invitation from his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
During their talks, the two leaders described the current situation in their respective countries before discussing how best to enhance their relations, friendship and cooperation.
Since Laos and China established their comprehensive strategic partnership in 2009, their mutual trust has deepened, particularly in political affairs, and economic cooperation has seen progress as anticipated.
China and Laos are friendly neighbours that share the same destiny as well as extensive common interests.
The two countries view their relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective and give priority to the development of the relationship, no matter how the international situation changes, according to Chinese media reports quoting Xi Jingping.
The two sides agreed to enhance their mutual trust and assistance in both the bilateral and multilateral arenas for their shared benefit, and contribute to regional and global peace, friendship and cooperation in development.
The two countries also agreed to further exchange visits between delegations of their two parties and governments, aiming to exchange views and develop their human resources to enhance the quality of their cooperation.
Laos is part of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China expects Laos to play an active role in consolidating China's ties with the regional bloc.
According to the China Daily report, Laos serves a unique role in bringing China closer to its Asean neighbours and can act as a mediator amid some regional disputes.
“In its foreign policies, Laos sees China as a key partner. Economically, its fast development is closely linked with that of China,” China Daily said quoting Head of the Institute of Lao Studies at the Institute of China-Asean Research in the Guangxi Zhuang region.
China is a key trading partner with Laos and their annual trade volume has been increasing on a year-on-year basis.
In 2010 bilateral trade volume reached US$1 billion, rising to US$1.728 billion in 2012. In the first five months of 2013, bilateral trade stood at US$794 million, and China's nonfinancial direct investment in Laos reached US$339 million.
China is one of the largest foreign investors in Laos mainly in the areas of hydropower, mining, agriculture and forestry.
During his visit, Choummaly also met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to further discuss their cooperation efforts.
The president was accompanied by his wife, Office Head of the Party Central Committee Bounpone Bouttanavong, ministers, deputy ministers and other officials.
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