Lao PM to lead historic trip on Laos-China Railway

The Lao People's Revolutionary Party leadership has resolved that Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh will lead other senior officials in the first trip on the Laos-China railway from Lao capital, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Tuesday.

"The first trip on the historic train will take place after the inauguration of the railway, designed to coincide with the National Day of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) on Dec. 2. The event will begin with a religious ceremony on Dec. 2 before the official opening ceremony on Dec. 3," said the report.

Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone chaired a meeting in capital Vientiane last Saturday to review the progress made in preparations for the opening of the railway.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Phoxay Khaykhamphithoune told the Lao National Television that infrastructure preparation is now completed but that some detailed work still remains to be done.

"We have already conducted a trial run of the train," he said, adding "I think that we are ready for this event."

A recent meeting of Party Politburo members and party secretariat committee members gave the government the green light to prepare for the opening of the railway, said Vientiane Times.

During the meeting, officials reported on the progress of their preparations, notably in relation to protocol, train services and other aspects of railway operations, the newspaper added.

The party delegated relevant sectors of the government and the Laos-China Railway Company to carry out comprehensive preparations and ensure that all work is completed ahead of the event.

The opening ceremony will take place in full compliance with COVID-19 control measures but will be highly meaningful and of great political and economic significance, said the report.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant bodies have been entrusted to draw up clear plans for the event, and the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been advised to invite members of the diplomatic corps and international organizations to attend the opening ceremony, according to the report.

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 electrified passenger and cargo railway is built with the full application of Chinese management and technical standards. The construction of the project started in December 2016. 

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