|Xi Jinping and General Secretary of the LPRP Central Committee and Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith Jointly Attend the Opening Ceremony of the China-Laos Railway|
On the afternoon of December 3, 2021, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony of the China-Laos Railway in Beijing via video link with General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee and Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith.
Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Director of the National Development and Reform Commission He Lifeng chaired the ceremony.
Chinese and Lao officials in charge of relevant departments and local governments, representatives of railway builders, and consul generals in Kunming and diplomatic envoys to Laos of relevant countries attended the ceremony at the venues of China's Kunming Station and the Vientiane Station of Laos.
Lao Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone and the responsible person of China State Railway Group reported the preparations for the opening to the two heads of state, respectively.
The two heads of state delivered speeches respectively.
On behalf of the CPC, the Chinese government and the Chinese people, Xi Jinping extended warm congratulations on the opening of the China-Laos Railway and his highest respect for the builders of the two countries.
Xi Jinping pointed out that in 2015, I, together with Lao leaders, made a major decision to jointly build the China-Laos Railway. In the five years since the start of construction, China and Laos have made concerted efforts and cooperated closely, worked in the spirit of opening roads through mountains and putting bridges over rivers, and completed construction tasks at a high level and with high quality, demonstrating the deep connotation of the spirit of the China-Laos community with a shared future with practical actions, and the special advantages of the two countries' socialist system, which is pooling all necessary resources together to accomplish great tasks.
Xi Jinping noted that the China-Laos Railway is a flagship project of mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries. After the railway is opened, the mountain from Kunming to Vientiane is no longer high and the road is no longer long. Both sides shall make persistent efforts, maintain and operate the railway well, develop and construct well the areas along the route, and create a golden route for the benefit of the two peoples.
Xi Jinping stressed that the China-Laos Railway is a landmark project of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. In recent years, with the goals of high standards, sustainable development and improvement of people's livelihood, China has continuously improved the level of Belt and Road cooperation, achieved mutual benefits and win-win results for participating countries, and opened up new space for the development of the world economy. China is willing to work with Laos and other countries along the route to speed up the building of a closer Belt and Road partnership, and jointly promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Xi Jinping emphasized that a few days ago, I received a joint letter from several Lao students who once majored in railway in China's Shanghai. They all said that they would contribute what they had learned in China to the operation and development of the China-Laos Railway, and I am very happy about this. The future of China-Laos friendship lies in the youth, and the interconnection is rooted in people-to-people communication. China is willing to cultivate more talents for the path of China-Laos friendship.
Thongloun said that today marks a proud moment and the dream of all ethnic groups of Laos has finally come true. Thanks to China's strong support, Laos has finally bid farewell to the days without trains and now has a modern railway. The Laos-China Railway is a bond deeply docking the Laos' development strategy to convert itself from a land-locked country to a land-linked country with the Belt and Road Initiative, and an important milestone in Laos' modern infrastructure construction. The railway will greatly promote Laos' national economic and social development. Thanks to the attention and care of the two countries' leaders and great support from all parties, the two sides have overcome many challenges and difficulties such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and successfully completed the project and put it into operation on time. It is a valuable gift to all ethnic groups of Laos to celebrate the 46th anniversary of the founding of the Lao People's Democratic Republic and a grand celebration for the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Laos-China diplomatic ties. It vividly demonstrates the spirit of "good neighbor, good friend, good comrade and good partner" and the Laos-China community with a shared future. It also greatly signifies the friendly relations between the two parties, two countries and two peoples. It will surely add new dimensions to the relations between the two parties and two countries. The Lao side is willing to work with the Chinese side to maintain and operate the Laos-China Railway well, bring more benefits to the people of the two countries and in the region, and contribute to promoting regional connectivity, development and prosperity. I wish China a more glorious future and long-lasting friendly and cooperative relations between Laos and China!
A rail driver at the Vientiane Station reported: the train is ready to depart and is waiting for the order from President Thongloun.
Thongloun gave his order, "Depart!"
A rail driver at the Kunming Station reported: the train is ready to depart and is waiting for the order from President Xi.
Xi Jinping gave his order, "Depart!"
The passenger train of the Chinese side C3 departed from Lane 1 at the Kunming Station and the passenger train of the Lao side C82 departed from Lane 1 at the Vientiane Station at the same time.
The opening ceremony wrapped up with the music of The Song of Friendship between the Chinese and Lao People.
Ding Xuexiang, Liu He and others attended the event. Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh, Vice President Pany Yathortou, and Deputy Prime Minister Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune attended the ceremony at the Vientiane Station.
The China-Laos Railway, with a total length of 1,035 km, starts from Kunming in China's Yunnan Province in the north to the Lao capital, Vientiane in the south. It is the first overseas railway jointly constructed and operated by China and Laos, adopting Chinese standards, and directly linking to China's railway network. Thanks to the opening of the railway, the travel time from Kunming to Vientiane will take about 10 hours.