China-Laos ties rise to a new level

2 Dec , 2017  

An Asian elephant from Laos is off landed to begin its life in a zoo in Dongguan, South China’s Guangdong Province on May 7, 2016. Photo: VCG

Laos and China ties are strong and continue to increase. Article published in

“Speaking Chinese will open up new opportunities for me. With many Lao people keen to learn Chinese, when I go back home after graduation next year, I will teach the Chinese language, culture and politics,” said Tala, a Lao from Vientiane who is getting a career boost in China.

Tala is a master’s student at Guangxi University and one of hundreds of thousands of Lao who are fans of Chinese TV programs.

In 2015, China helped Laos launch its first communications satellite, which has significantly improved the quality of radio and television broadcasts there.

Hundreds of Chinese television programs have been translated into Lao and aired in the country since 2014, according to Lu Xuemei, a senior editor of a TV station in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. China and Laos are now translating classic Chinese cartoons. They expect to complete more than 100 programs a year.

A documentary on 50 years of China-Laos relations, a joint production by the two countries, has been a big hit.

“TV has opened a window for Lao people to learn about China. Lao people watch Chinese news and TV shows every day, so China is having a widespread cultural influence there,” Lu said.

Both nations benefit

In 2011, Beer Lao began exports to China and the company was the first sponsor of the China-ASEAN Expo in 2012.

“From being an unknown to becoming a household name in China took us just four years,” said Phengrattanavong Khomsone, manager of the overseas department of the brewery. China is now the company’s largest overseas market, accounting for around 70 percent of its exports.

China is also the largest investor in Laos and the country’s second largest trading partner. From January to September, bilateral trade reached $210 million, an increase of 25.1 percent year-on-year.

China has invested heavily in hydropower, minerals and the garment trade in Laos in recent years. As Laos exports more of its products to China, Lao agricultural produce – rice, coffee and bananas – are becoming more popular among Chinese customers.

The China-Laos railway, currently under construction, is sure to further increase cultural and commercial exchange between the two countries.

“It takes at least a day to transport farm produce to China, but when the railways opens, it will only take four hours,” said Souksavath, a research fellow of Lao Academy of Social Science.

Infrastructure cooperation in railways, roads and power generation is lifting China-Laos ties to a new level, Souksavath said.

Cooperation in politics, the economy, culture and education will benefit both peoples, and help the evolution of a community seeking a shared future for mankind, he added.

Elephants without borders

Meanwhile, an eight-member team from the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in Yunnan Province along with their Laotian counterparts recently concluded a joint field study on endangered Asian elephants.

The survey helped determine the range and population of wild Asian elephants in two counties of Luang Namtha Province, Laos, according to Zhang Zhongyuan, head of the office of the China-Laos cross-border biodiversity joint protection program.

It was the fifth joint mission since the office was set up in 2006.

Asian elephants often wander along both sides of the 680-kilometer-long China-Laos border at Xishuangbanna, Zhang said. “Our experience in preventing and handling elephant attacks, including damaged crops and human injuries, can benefit our friends in Laos.”

According to Yunnan’s forestry authorities, more than 48,000 cases of wild elephants causing death and destruction were reported in Yunnan from 2011 to 2015, resulting in 18 deaths, 27 injuries and economic losses of about 99 million yuan. The government has provided more than 98 million yuan in compensation to the victims or their families.

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