H.E. BounNhang VORACHITH, President of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic
at the Leaders Roundtable of the Belt and Road Forum
for International Cooperation
15 May 2017, Beijing, P.R. China
Thematic Discussion on:
“Connectivity Cooperation for Interconnected Development”
- His Excellency President Xi Jinping,
- Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
- Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the era of regional and international integration, development cooperation is a prerequisite as all countries whether at regional or international level are interdependent. In this context, connectivity plays a crucial role in creating favorable condition for interconnected and sustainable development as well as in ensuring tangible benefits of socio-economic development.
The implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, that includes the promotion of development, peace, infrastructure connectivity and people to people exchange, is of great importance and will greatly contribute to the efforts by countries, regions and the world on the development of connectivity infrastructure, namely, multimodal transport and communications on land, air and water, financial institution connectivity, institutional connectivity, and promotion of people to people exchange. This will create conducive environment for socio-economic development, trade, investment as well as improvement of people’s living standard.
To this end, within ASEAN we have adopted various strategies and measures, such as the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, Initiative for ASEAN Integration Work Plan III, and so on.
- Mr. Chairman,
- Distinguished Delegates,
As for Lao PDR, being a land-locked country and surrounded by 5 neighbouring countries, we consider connectivity as a priority for national development by implementing a policy of transforming the country from a land-locked into a land-linked country with focus on infrastructure development that supports nationwide connectivity and connectivity between the Lao PDR and its neighbouring countries. This includes construction and improvement of roads, expansion of air network, development of Mekong River navigation channel, construction of railway from the Lao-Chinese border to Vientiane Capital to link up with other railways of neighbouring countries, as well as undertaking a feasibility study on a broader railway network.
Moreover, the Lao PDR also works closely with neighbouring countries to develop East-West and North-South Economic Corridors with an aim at improving connectivity with its neighbours so as to enhance the communication system as well as to expand power grid for electric power supply to countries in the sub-region.
In general, cooperation on connectivity will lead to a more interconnected development that will soon form a harmonious system, which will strengthen sustainable development. In this spirit, the Lao PDR highly values the importance of the initiative and supports the Belt and Road strategy. We stand ready to participate in the implementation of activities and projects according to our capacity in order to bring about benefits to the region as well as to promote connectivity among the countries along the Belt and Road, which will significantly contribute to the realisation of the policy of transforming Lao PDR from a land-locked into a land-linked country. I hope that in the process of implementing the Belt and Road initiative, the least developed countries as well as land-locked countries will receive greater support and cooperation from potential countries and international organisations in developing their connectivity systems.
On this occasion, I would like to express my support to all initiatives proposed by President Xi Jinping at the Leaders Roundtable today.