Feature: China-Laos Railway cross-border passenger service marks great leap forward in transport links

By Chanthaphaphone Mixayboua, Zhang Jianhua, Lin Hao (Xinhua) 10:29, May 01, 2023

VIENTIANE, April 30 (Xinhua) -- The cross-border passenger service on the China-Laos Railway marks a great leap forward in the provision of transport links and the promotion of tourism.

The first cross-border passenger service between the Lao capital Vientiane and Kunming, the capital city of southwest China's Yunnan Province, started on April 13, a move that is expected to boost regional connectivity.

The first group of Chinese tourists traveling on the train was warmly welcomed by Lao Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Suanesavanh Vignaket.

Speaking at the launch of the cross-border train service, Suanesavanh said the direct train service is another symbol of Laos-China friendship in the modern era and serves the Lao government's ambition to transform the landlocked country into a regional land link.

Lao government hopes that the China-Laos Railway will create an economic corridor that generates income for the nation, as well as bring more tourists to Laos from within the region and beyond.

"We now have a high-speed train connecting Laos and China. This offers important potential for international travel and represents the opening of a Laos-China high-speed rail route, connecting Lao capital Vientiane with Kunming and giving more tourists the chance to visit the two countries," Suanesavanh said.

The launch of the cross-border passenger train is an important historical event in the cooperation between the governments of Laos and China, which always encourage and help each other to bring strength and prosperity to their countries.

The train helped fulfill the dreams and aspirations of the Lao people for greater regional integration.

The railway will now become a "golden key" for Laos to connect with China and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which will greatly benefit the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation.

Saiy vilayvong, a 32-year-old woman living in northern Laos' Luang Prabang province, told Xinhua on Saturday that the cross-border passenger train serves to raise the profile of Laos in the international arena, by integrating passenger transport services with neighboring countries.

"The cross-border passenger train is of great significance to promoting the development of tourism and economy in Laos. The railway will help the economy, transportation, and tourism in Laos."

"In my opinion, the cross-border passenger train has greatly facilitated travel and sightseeing for the people of Laos and China. There will be more people coming and going using the railway," she said.

The launch of the cross-border passenger service has also made the headlines on social media in Laos, with some netizens have shown their appreciation and expressing their excitement about the news.

"Traveling to China will be more convenient now. China will be my next destination," said a Lao netizen.

"I'm so excited that I can take a train to China! It's so convenient and cheaper!"

The journey between Lao capital Vientiane and Kunming covers a distance of 1,035 km, with stops at eight stations and a total travel time of 10 hours and 30 minutes.

The China-Laos Railway is a docking project between the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Laos' strategy to convert itself from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub.

The aim of the Lao government is to turn the China-Laos Railway into an economic corridor that generates substantial income for Laos, helping to ease the current woeful economic situation and bring more foreign tourists to the country.

The vital transport link provided by the railway has the potential to place Laos at the center of efforts to link ASEAN countries to China. 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Du Mingming)


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