Beijing, Dec 5:
China on Friday launched the first USD 6 billion cross-border train of its multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) from Laos, which Beijing says will help the small and only landlocked country in South East Asia turn into a land-linked hub, boost regional connectivity and supply chain resilience.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Laos’ counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith jointly witnessed the opening of the China-Laos railway via video link on Friday.
The first train of the China-Laos Railway left Vientiane soon after the cross-border railway was officially put into operation, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Besides China, Laos shares borders with Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia which offered Beijing to extend the train project to those countries.
Laos is the only landlocked country in South East Asia. Like China, which is ruled by the Communist Party, it is a one-party socialist republic governed by the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party.
The 1,035-km electrified passenger and cargo railway, connecting Kunming in southwest China’s Yunnan Province with Laos’ capital Vientiane, fully adopts Chinese technical standards and consists of two sections, the report said.