|China and Laos will further strengthen cooperation in various fields through the upcoming official visit of Chinese premier Wen Jiabao to Laos, said Chinese ambassador to Laos Liu Yongxing here Friday.
In an interview with Xinhua, Liu said the visit of the Chinese premier from Nov. 28 to Nov. 30 during the 10th ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summit will surely forge closer ties between the two countries.
Liu said after former Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited Laos in 2000, the two countries signed a joint declaration on cooperation, which focuses on advancing economic and trade relations.
The two countries have listed agriculture, forestry, resources development and infrastructure construction as priority sectors for expanding cooperation.
The Sino-Lao economic ties have been further enhanced since Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi visited here in March this year, during which 11 cooperation agreements were signed.
Liu said the bilateral trade volume of China and Laos stood at 63.95 million US dollars in 2002 and the figure reached at 110 million US dollars in 2003.
Wu Yi had suggested to increase the bilateral trade volume to 200 million US dollars in 2005.
The ambassador said the Chinese-funded companies have taken about one third of the Lao market of construction projects and China has become the 7th largest investors in Laos.
Chinese products are also popular in Laos, he said, adding that about 97 percent of the motor cycles used by Lao people are imported from China.
China has built a national cultural museum and a hospital in Luang Prabang, the five-star Don Chan Palace Hotel in Vientiane, and some other big projects for Laos in the past few years. A Sino-Lao joint-venture of cement has already taken one fourth of Lao's market share.
Besides trade and economic cooperation, the two countries have also strengthened bilateral cooperation in national defense, public security, culture and education.
The two countries are also drafting plans for strengthening tourism cooperation, Liu added.
The ambassador spoke highly of Laos' all-out efforts for hosting the ASEAN summit.
The country has rebuilt highways, deployed more police forces, strengthened traffic control and cleaned some major buildings along the main streets of the city, he said.
He said the overall investment environment and infrastructure facilities have improved gradually in the country and he hoped more Chinese businessmen will come here for long-term investment projects.