This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Laos diplomatic relations, since April 25, 1961.
Over the past six decades, the friendship between the two countries has become stronger, especially in trade and investment.
In a sense, my own experience testifies to the profundity of this relationship.
Thanks to a scholarship provided by China, I came to China in 2017 to pursue my master’s degree in International Trade.
Now China ranks first in foreign direct investment in Laos. During the last ten years trade volume between Laos and China rose from US$237 million in 2005 to over US$2.7 billion in 2018.
China’s investment in infrastructure has been what my country needs badly. Partly as a result, roads, schools and hospitals there have improved a lot.
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 a symbol of the two countries’ friendship. This railway will turn Laos from a land-locked country to a land-linked nation, facilitating trade between the two countries, and bringing the peoples of the two countries closer.
Once this project is operational, I am quite sure that it will create a lot of jobs for the local people. It will also boost Laos tourism. In 2018 alone more than 800,000 tourists came from China, an increase of 26 percent compared to 2017.
China is not only the largest investor and trade partner for Laos, but also the largest aid provider.
As we all know, China has set a good example in its fight against poverty.
Its successful poverty alleviation effort not only improves the life of the Chinese people, but also brings hope to the people in many developing countries.
It is against this backdrop that China helped launch a rural poverty reduction project in Laos, which aimed to provide electricity, water, health and digital TVs to around 400 families across the country. I believe that this type of cooperation will definitely contribute to Laos in its fight against poverty that will help lift Laos from the Least Developed Country status by 2026.
Hence, I am very grateful that the 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 contagion of COVID-19. Lao people now have chances to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and I am grateful to China for its readiness to share its vaccines. It is the first country to donate COVID-19 vaccines to Laos.
Earlier it also sent medical experts, along with medical materials, to Laos to help fight COVID-19. Recently, I also heard that China has been providing vaccines to many other 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. The safety and warmth I have experienced in China made me feel China is my second home.
The opportunities I have to interact with the Chinese people, in and outside the school, have deepened my understanding of the Chinese people and culture. Whenever I meet Chinese people, they are always so friendly and humble.
It is only natural that I want to continue to pursue a PhD in China. I believe that further studies will enrich my knowledge in the field of economy and trade.
I am keen to use my knowledge to promote trade and cooperation between my country Laos and China.
The author is a MA student from Laos at Shanghai University. The views are her own,