VIENTIANE: Lao Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone has hailed the Laos-China Railway as a pride of Laos.
When addressing a gathering to review the operation of the railway that went optional on Dec 3, 2021, Sonexay said the cross-border railway, a landmark project of Laos-China friendship, is a strategic project to convert Laos from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub, synergising with the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
Sonexay, a politburo member of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party central committee, said the operation of the railway greatly enhanced Laos' international strategic position, thus turning Laos into an important hub for transportation in the region.
He said that in the past year, the China-Laos Railway has been running smoothly, providing quality service for passenger and freight transportation and contributing to socio-economic development of Laos.
Xiang Fangqiang, charge d'affaires of the Chinese embassy in Laos, said China is willing to work with Laos to ensure safe and efficient operation of the railway, and strengthen connectivity of China-Laos-Thailand railways, thus making an even greater contribution to regional connectivity and prosperity.
Ju Guojiang, chairman of the Laos-China Railway Co, a Vientiane-based joint venture which is responsible for the operation of the Lao section of the railway, said that since its operation one year ago, the railway has carried a total of 1.269 million passengers, 1.9955 million tonnes of goods, including more than 1.5761 million tonnes of cross-border goods.
Ju said that the company has also cultivated local railway talents and provided over 100,000 jobs.
The 1,035-km China-Laos Railway connects Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan province, with the Lao capital Vientiane.