My view on Laos-China diplomatic relations

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Laos diplomatic relations. Laos and China established diplomatic relations on April 25, 1961. Over the past six decades, the friendship between the two countries has become stronger, especially in areas of economy, trade and investment. This is related to the fact that Laos and China share things in common, especially political system and culture. And I am one of tesmonies of the strong diplomatic relations between my country Laos and China.

As part of the diplomatic relations between Laos and China, China provides scholarship opportunities to Lao students. And I am one of the students who got the opportunity to pursue my master’s degree in China. I came to China in 2017 to pursue my master’s degree in International Trade. During my master’s study, I have realized that the diplomatic relations and cooperation between my country and China is very strong. As such, I was inspired to do my master’s thesis paper on the economic interaction between Laos and China.

According to my master’s research project, China ranks first in foreign direct investment in Laos and it had more than 700 projects with a total value of 11.451 billion U.S dollars between 2005 and 2018. In addition, over the last ten years trade volume between Laos and China rose from 237 million U.S dollars in 2005 to over 2.7 billion U.S dollars in 2018. Currently, China is the second largest trade partner of the Lao PDR. These have contributed tremendously to the socio-economic development in Laos.

Over the past six decades, China had so many opportunities to invest in Laos, especially in the infrastructure sector, which my country needs most. Thanks to Chinese investors, the infrastructure, especially roads, schools and hospitals in my country, has been improved significantly. The Laos-China railway, which runs 417 km from a Laos-China border crossing in Boten, Luang Namtha province in northern Laos, to Vientiane is considered as a historical symbol for the two countries’ diplomatic relations. This railway will turn Laos from Land-locked to a Land-linked nation and increases trade between the two countries. The project not only gives big opportunities for trade and investment, but it will also bring the people of the two countries closer by reducing the cost of transportation. I am so happy to see my country with a new face that is the shift from a Land-locked to a Land-linked country. Once the railway is operational, I am quite sure that more Lao people will enjoy job opportunities. In addition, it will also boost Laos tourism industry, especially tourists from China. For example, in 2018, more than 800,000 tourists came from China, an increase of 26 per cent compared to 2017.

China is not only the largest investor to Laos, but also the largest aid donor for the country. China sets a good example in its fight against poverty. Just in less than fifty years it was able to up lift its population from poverty. This success story in poverty alleviation not only brought a better life to the Chinese people, but also brings tangible hope to the people of the developing countries. In this backdrop, China launched China-aided rural poverty reduction project in Laos, which is aimed at providing electricity, water supply systems, setting up medical and health centers, and installing digital TVs in around 400 families across the country. This is one of the examples of the Laos-China strong diplomatic relations. I believe that this type of cooperation will definitely make greater contributions to Laos in the fight against poverty that will help Laos to graduate from the Least Developed Country status by 2026. Hence, I am very grateful that Lao people in remote areas will soon have access to electricity and water supply.

Furthermore, recently China sent COVID-19 vaccines to Laos to help protect Lao people from the spread of COVID-19. Now, Lao people have the chance to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and I am very grateful to China for sharing its vaccines to my country, which really touched me deeply. China is the first country to donate COVID-19 vaccines to Laos; also earlier it sent medical experts, along with medical materials to Laos to help fight COVID-19. Recently, I also heard that China has been providing vaccine assistance to many countries in the world, which is really a noble deed.

My life as a student in China in general and in Shanghai University in particular has been very well. China is a safe country with a welcoming environment, which made me feel China as my second homeland. During my master’s study I have learnt a lot from my professors and classmates. My study life has not only been about academic excellence, there has been more to that equation. The opportunity that I have to interact with the Chinese people, in and outside the school, has broadened my understanding about the Chinese people and culture. More so, I have improved my Mandarin language. Whenever I meet Chinese people, they are always friendly and humble.

To sum up my thoughts, I am greatly influenced by my recent experience of studying in China. More importantly, I now have a better understanding about China, which has helped me to realize that I want to pursue a doctoral degree in China. I believe that doing PhD in China will provide me more knowledge and skills in the fields of economy and trade that I am keen to use it to promote the trade and cooperation between my country Laos and China.

Source: Lao News Agency