Written by Li Min and Huang Yunyun / Translated by Chen Zhiying
2021 is a year of great significance for China and Laos — it marks the 30th anniversary of the China-ASEAN dialogue relations and the 60th anniversary of the China-Laos diplomatic relations. This year, Laos also serves as the County of Honor in the 18th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO). All these combined push the celebration to a climax.
The past six decades have witnessed great glory, greater steps should be strode forward bravely. On this occasion, H.E. Mrs. Khamphao Ernthavanh, Ambassador of the Lao PDR to China, accepted an written interview with the reporter from China-ASEAN Panorama Magazine. The Ambassador said that in the past, political mutual trust between China and Laos has been improved, and new achievements have been made in public health, bilateral trade and non-governmental exchanges. In the future, bilateral cooperation will advance steadily under the framework of comprehensive strategic partnership and China-Laos community with a shared future.
Diverse activities to celebrate the establishment of China-Laos diplomatic relations
China-ASEAN Panorama: Could you please tell us what positive roles the Lao Embassy in China has played in promoting the bilateral relations and cooperation in recent years, especially since the outbreak of the pandemic? What activities will the Embassy arrange to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the China-Laos diplomatic relations?
H. E. Mrs. Khamphao Ernthavanh: Laos and China established the diplomatic relations on April 25, 1961. Therefore, this year (2021) is its 60th anniversary. In this regard, this year marks a very significant milestone for China and Laos to implement the four principles of good comrades, good friends, good partners and China-Laos community with a shared future, and to write a new chapter for the comprehensive strategic partnership.
Despite the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the leaders of parties, governments and other relevant authorities from both countries have kept great cooperation momentum via new exchange platforms. In March 2021, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and President of China sent the Message of Congratulation to His Excellency Thongloun SISOULITH, General Secretary of Lao People’s Revolutionary Party on his election as the President of the Lao PDR. Li Keqiang, Chinese Premier sent the Message of Congratulation to His Excellency Phankham VIPHAVANH on his election as the Prime Minister of the Lao PDR. Meanwhile, Wang Yi, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister and His Excellency Saleumxay KOMMASITH, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR held talks via video conference. The meeting between our two leaders has provided favourable conditions to promote and tighten political cooperation and to complete mutual tasks.
In this auspicious occasion, the Embassy of the Lao PDR had collaborated with many core organizations in China to host many activities to celebrate this important anniversary. On April 21, 2021, the Embassy of Lao PDR had collaborated with Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries to co-host a dinner banquet to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Laos-China diplomatic relations. Wang Yi, Chinese State Counsellor and Foreign Minister attended the banquet and gave a keynote speech on the great achievements made in cooperations over the past 60 years. Moreover, the Embassy of Lao PDR will collaborate with other development partners to co-organize various activities such as Ambassador lecture, magazine publication, exhibition and others to celebrate this wonderful milestone. Besides that, Lao PDR will continue to serve as the Country of Honour in the 18th CAEXPO, which is considered as an important part in the commendation of the 60th anniversary of Laos-China diplomatic relations.
CAEXPO provides a platform for China and ASEAN to accelerate all-round cooperation
China-ASEAN Panorama: Laos will continue serving as the Country of Honour in the 18th CAEXPO this year. Last year, Your Excellency attended the CAEXPO in Nanning. What impressed you the most? What would you expect Laos to gain through this platform this year?
In 2021, Laos continues serving as the Country of Honour in the 18th CAEXPO, which already became a platform to boost economy, trade, investment, people-to-people exchanges between China and ASEAN including Lao PDR. This also provides a favourable condition to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Laos-China diplomatic relations and make great contributions to the Laos-China comprehensive strategic partnership and the Laos-China community with a shared future.
China-Laos cooperation: remarkable achievements and promising future
China-ASEAN Panorama: At present, China and Laos have expanded cooperation in new areas such as petrochemical and beef export. Cooperation in what areas will China and Laos further promote? To promote the cooperation, what will be the future priorities of the Embassy?
H. E. Mrs. Khamphao Ernthavanh: Laos and China have expanded and strengthened cooperation in many new areas in the new era. During the difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Laos and China have supported each other in public health. Chinese government has provided assistance and supports for Lao central and local authorities by providing more than 1,000,000 COVID-19 vaccines and sending medical experts from China to participate in the pandemic prevention and control in Laos. Laos and China kept the momentum of two-way trade cooperation, such as supplementing 97% tariff elimination of Lao products export to China, enhancing people-to-people exchanges, and continuing to support the Belt and Road Initiative and promote and strengthen the cooperation from the central to local levels comprehensively.
The Embassy of the Lao PDR will continue contributing its utmost effort to encourage Laos-China cooperation in areas of politics, trade, investment, sociocultural and people-to-people exchanges, laying foundations for the comprehensive strategic partnership and the Laos-China community with a shared future. Laos will keep promoting the sister city cooperation between Laos and China, further support the visit and exchange of two countries’ leaders and other core organizations, continue enhancing the cooperation in public health and pandemic prevention, particularly the cooperation in the COVID-19, attract investment from China so as to contribute to the national socioeconomic development of the Lao government, ensure mutual understanding and trust among people of the two countries, do its utmost to enrich the Belt and Road Initiative, China-ASEAN (10+1) Cooperation Mechanism, Mekong-Lancang Cooperation and other multilateral mechanisms that Laos and China participated, thus to enhance the important role played by Laos and China in the regional and international stage.