EM – China and Laos to open high-speed link valued at $ 6 billion

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A $ 6 billion high-speed rail link connecting China with its Southeast Asian neighbor, Laos, opened on Friday, a milestone in Beijing’s ambitious belt and road infrastructure plans.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Laotian counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith attended a virtual ceremony to mark the maiden voyages on the line, which stretches from the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming to the Lao capital of Vientiane.

China, which holds 70% of the shares in the joint, which was signed in 2015 Venture project holds, hopes that the 1,000 km long route via Thailand and Malaysia to Singapore will be expanded.

In a video meeting of the two heads of state and government on Friday, Xi said the countries were at a “new historic Starting point “.

” China is ready to strengthen strategic communication with Laos, the high-quality development of Belt a nd Road Initiative and continue to build an unbreakable Sino-Laos community with a common future, “he said in a comment on the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Economists warn that the railway project will save communist Laos, one of the poorest countries Asia, could make it harder to repay the foreign debt that much of China owes.

The state-run Laotian news agency KPL said Thursday the project was part of the government’s strategy to transform Laos “from a landlocked country to a land-based country.” .

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