China, Laos sign seven deals
Updated: 2014-07-29 06:51
By Zhao Shengnan (China Daily)
Beijing grants loans for neighbor's power projects, cybercrime fight
China and Laos signed seven cooperative agreements on Monday in their efforts to jointly boost national development in trade and other areas during the Lao president's second visit to China in less than a year.
The agreements, which were signed with President Xi Jinping and Lao President Choummaly Saygnasone in attendance, included Chinese loans to fund power grids, hydropower projects and the prevention of cybercrime in Laos.
Both countries, which face the same challenges of reform, development and stability, should strengthen cooperation in fields such as modern agriculture, energy and infrastructure construction, said Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.
Choummaly, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, expressed his country's desire to learn from China's experiences in developing both the Party and the country. He said it looks forward to China's continuous support of Laos' railways, agricultural industries and Internet projects.
The visit by Choummaly, the second since September, came amid efforts by Vientiane to boost growth amid a national slowdown, which occurred after the suspension of investment projects and projects conducted without the Lao National Assembly's approval.
The Lao government has consequently moved to cut expenditures in infrastructure development projects such as roads and public offices, the Vientiane Times reported earlier this month.
Zhang Jiuhuan, former director of the Department of Asian Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, said China and Laos have stable ties and great complementary opportunities for economic development.
China's technologies, experience and financial support could help the less developed country, said Zhang, who added that China can learn from Laos' experiences in areas such as environmental protection.
"It's a natural choice for the two neighboring countries to deepen cooperation as they both adhere to socialism and have a similar history. I believe the latest visit by Choummaly could inject energy into bilateral and regional cooperation," said Zhang.
China is Laos' second-largest trading partner and second-largest source of imports, as well as its third-largest export market. Bilateral trade rose to $1.73 billion in 2012.
Xi called for closer cooperation with Laos in law enforcement and border management near the Mekong River to fight terrorism and cross-border crimes.
The two countries should also have more exchanges in culture, education, youth and local governments, he said.
Last week, Laos awarded nine Chinese policemen medals of heroism for their contributions in cracking down on cross-border crimes, according to a local police bureau in Yunnan province.
Several of the policemen from Xishuangbanna, the southernmost prefecture of Yunnan province, helped solve a murder case that involved the killing of 13 sailors on the Mekong River in 2011.