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Laos expects new measures to strengthen China-ASEAN strategic partnership at upcoming summit
2006-10-16 09:10:18 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Laos on Monday expressed its hope the upcoming China-ASEAN summit will lead to the establishment of new measures to strengthen the ASEAN-China strategic partnership.

The summit will be held on October 30 in Nanning, capital of South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue.

"It is an event of historical significance for both ASEAN and China, and a valuable opportunity for both leaders to exchange views on what has been done in bilateral cooperation over the past 15 years, and to discuss the trend of such cooperation for the years ahead," Lao ambassador to China Vichit Xindavong told Xinhua.

He said his country expects to see leaders of both sides come up with new ideas and make decisions to further facilitate ASEAN-China cooperation, bringing about more substantial benefit to both peoples in the future.

The ambassador spoke highly of the progress of ASEAN-China cooperation in the past 15 years, adding the two sides have enhanced mutual understanding and trust through such exchanges and cooperation.

He believes ASEAN and China should continue to expand cooperation in politics, economy, social affairs, security and international and regional affairs.

With regard to Laos-China ties, the 51-year-old ambassador said the two countries have been enjoying "excellent" relations.

However, he acknowledged, the trade volume between Laos and China remains relatively low compared with the ones between China and other ASEAN countries.

He hoped more Chinese investors could explore opportunities in his country, and business people from both sides could have more contact through exchanging visits and attending seminars and exhibitions to broaden the scope of bilateral trade.

The third China-ASEAN Expo, as well as the third China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, will be held on the sidelines of the commemorative summit.

Vichit Xindavong said Laos will use these events to further expand economic and trade cooperation with China's provinces.

The ambassador also expressed his appreciation for China's assistance in his country's struggle for national liberation in the past as well as its economic construction in the present.

The trade and investment cooperation in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) is considered as a key cooperation area between China and ASEAN. A large section of the Mekong River flows through Laos and over 80 percent of the country's population are living along the river and its tributaries.

Vichit Xindavong said Laos will continue to concentrate on developing infrastructure under the framework of GMS cooperation, including building bridges across the Mekong River and roads linking Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, constructing hydropower stations and power transmission lines.

Laos is ready to better integrate its economy into the region and make positive contributions to GMS cooperation, the ambassador said. Enditem

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