Aerial photo taken on June 15 shows the Phonethong bridge under construction in Vientiane, Laos (XINHUA)
China’s success stems from the nation choosing the right path, meaning that under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Khamphao Ernthavanh, Ambassador of Laos to China, spoke to Beijing Review reporter Tao Xing in a recent interview. She also shared her views on China’s development and what it has brought to the world. This is an edited excerpt of the interview:
How do you see China’s achievements in poverty reduction?
China has secured a complete victory in its fight against poverty and completed the arduous task of eliminating extreme poverty--the first target of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This accomplishment is considered a milestone in the history of the Chinese nation as well as that of mankind, greatly contributing to the cause of global poverty alleviation.
I do believe that there is no other country that can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in such a short period of time than China under the leadership of the CPC.
What have China and Laos jointly undertaken in terms of poverty alleviation? What have been the results thus far?
The poverty rate in Laos declined from 46 percent in 1993 to 18 percent in 2019, with millions of people lifted out of poverty as the government set a modest target of reducing the ratio to 15 percent by late 2020.
China has greatly assisted our economic and social development. During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Laos in 2017, he announced eight assistance measures across education, health, poverty eradication, vocational training and other areas, to benefit the Lao people’s livelihood and improve their wellbeing, such as the Mahosod Hospital, Hospital 103, Luangprabang Hospital, and further local medical centers.
The Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and the government and the people of Laos highly appreciate China’s support in sharing its knowledge and experience on poverty alleviation through various ways, including the organizing of study tours to successful model areas and opening of training courses. I do believe that all these valuable experiences can help Laos conduct a successful fight against poverty.
What did you find most impressive about China’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
China mounted a decisive and effective campaign that quickly brought the virus under control at home by implementing various sets of successful measures. It has put the lives and health of its people at the front and center of it all.
China also actively participates in and promotes global cooperation. This year alone, it has dispatched a large number of medical supplies and vaccines to Laos, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and other countries in a timely manner.
The governments of Laos and China have been working together closely from the very beginning to curb the pandemic. In addition to cash assistance, China has also sent out a medical expert team to support in terms of prevention measures in Laos.
Additionally, both governments have agreed on the launch of a fast track program to facilitate the smooth movement of essential goods and services, and on continuing their cooperation in dealing with work plans agreed to by the leaders of the two countries.
Which fields do you think will see more cooperation between the two countries?
Laos and China have a long-standing friendly relationship. At present, the bilateral relationship is at its historical best. In the face of the combined impact of profound worldwide changes unseen in a century and the pandemic, Laos is willing to work with China to further expand high-level exchange, enhance strategic communication and strengthen experience sharing in governing at both party and government levels.
Cooperation between both countries covers all fields of socio-economic development, especially investment and trade, which has strongly and continuously grown and expanded. China is the largest source of direct investment and the second largest trading partner of Laos. Laos welcomes Chinese investors, especially concerning those areas where they have great experiences such as energy, transportation, tourism, services, processing industries and agriculture. Meanwhile, Laos will increase its potential exports to China, agricultural products in particular.
What do you expect for cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative? How about the progress of the China-Laos Railway Project?
The Belt and Road Initiative promotes intergovernmental cooperation, policy exchange and a communication mechanism boosting win-win cooperation. Moreover, it will create opportunities for the improved connectivity of transportation infrastructure and technical standard systems of participating countries, both of which are essential to social and economic development of small, landlocked Laos.
The launch of the Laos-China Railway, slated for December of this year, will increase the flow of people and business between both countries and will create more favorable conditions for bilateral cooperation in economic and trade, investment, tourism and other fields.
According to a report from the Ministry of Public Work and Transportation of Laos, up until May, over 96.3 percent of the construction works of the Lao section of the Laos-China Railway had been completed. Other projects such as the construction of supporting facilities along the railway line are also moving forward swimmingly, with more than 70 percent finished.
Each state is entitled to independently choose its own path for development path and social system. How can the international community create a future of mutual respect and mutual learning?
Every sovereign state has the right to choose its own path for development. No country can impose its own model onto others, let alone forcibly subvert the government and political system of other countries. Laos respects the different paths chosen by other countries, but such differences should not affect the peaceful coexistence and cooperation between states, and the international community should be built on sharing interests, mutual respect and win-win cooperation for the purpose of building a community with s shared future for mankind.
China, under the leadership of the CPC, has always upheld its own path toward progress. Its success has boosted the confidence of other developing countries in their ability to achieve prosperity and provided them with the experience and overall framework to speed up development in line with their own national conditions and maintain independence.
The year 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. What do you want to say to them and China at large?
I have visited many places of significance in the history of the CPC like Jinggang Mountains and Ruijin in Jiangxi Province and the Hongyan Revolutionary Memorial in Chongqing. These visits made me deeply understand the history of the CPC and the fact that the Party is the vanguard of the Chinese working class, the Chinese people and the Chinese nation by large. It is the leadership core for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and represents the development requirements of China’s advanced productive forces and the fundamental interests of overwhelming majority of the Chinese people.
I warmly congratulate the CPC on the 100th anniversary of its founding and highly value the great achievements made by the Chinese people under the leadership of the CPC over the past 100 years. I strongly believe the CPC will lead its people to fully and successfully realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon
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