China-Laos Railway epitomizes Belt and Road Initiative cooperation: foreign ministry
By Xu Zheqi
People's Daily app

The China-Laos Railway epitomizes China's Belt and Road Initiative cooperation with the world, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.

The first cross-border passenger train from Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province to the Lao capital Vientiane passes by tea plantations in Pu'er, southwest China's Yunnan Province, April 13, 2023. (Photo: Xinhua)

Mao Ning, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the remarks at a routine press briefing in Beijing when asked to comment on whether the China-Laos Railway benefits local people.

"The China-Laos Railway has seen booming passenger and freight services since it opened to traffic over a year ago," Mao said.

"Since its operation started, the railway has employed more than 3,500 Laotian staff and created over 100,000 jobs indirectly by catalyzing progress in logistics, transportation, trade and commerce, tourism and other sectors."

The China-Laos Railway has been an employment boon and boosted trade, she said.

"Transportation of goods from many ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries have benefited from this golden transportation route," the ministry spokesperson said. "Today it only takes three days for glutinous rice from Laos and durian from Thailand to reach the tables of Chinese consumers."

ASEAN is an intergovernmental organization of 10 Southeast Asian countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Ecological conservation has been a top priority during the construction and operation of the railway, Mao said.

"The railway avoided going through six natural and cultural protection areas and protected forests at the national level," she said. "The total greening area along the railway is over 3 million square meters."

All efforts were aimed at ensuring a beautiful natural landscape, Mao said

"The China-Laos Railway is the epitome of a Belt and Road Initiative project," she said. "We're willing to work with regional countries to continue to share the opportunities brought by connectivity and achieve common development and prosperity."