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Oriented to the south for a dream of railway on Indo-China Peninsula
A road to Indo-China Peninsula (screenshot of ‘Road’ – a video telling about a dream of railway on Indo-China Peninsula)
Vientiane, November 13, Xinhua News Agency (reported by Yan Jie, Ling Shuo and Wang Yujue) – ‘I can always think of a sentence President Xi once said – People’s expectation for a beautiful life is just our targets to strive for.’ Said Khemmany Pholsena, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Laos and Chairman of Laos-China Cooperation Commission said so when she talked about Laotian dreams, ‘Laos-China Railway is just a dream of Laotian people.’
Laos is a traditionally agricultural country. Less development in economy, poor trading basis, outdated infrastructure and shortage of external investment has made this only inland country in Southeast Asia trapped in a bottleneck of development for a long term. Since last year, China-Laos Railway of more than 400 kilometers long started construction within the territory of Laos, which extends across the plains and over the mountains to connect the south with the north. Upon its completion, it can not only provide links in trading and hearts of people, but also connect to the Belt and Road of East Coast Rail Line in Malaysia to form a trading road through the Peninsula, a development road to link to the world and a realistic road to develop a dream.
People on Indo-China Peninsula strongly believe that the trains will take the Peninsula to a new time of a brilliant future.
[Go running for a drive for development]
On December 25, 2016, an opening ceremony for Laos-China Railway Project was held in Luang Prabang Province, Laos, where Bounchanh Sinthavong, Minister of Public Works and Transport delivered a speech (reported by Xinhua News Agency)
It merely took 13 days for China Railway No. 2 Engineering Group (CREG-2) to complete the erection work of machines and construction work of plant building for construction site of Nam Khone Super Major Bridge of China-Laos Railway. Such a construction site from nothing to something has interpreted Chinese speed thoroughly. Laotian people who always live a slow life pace truly felt for the first time that a dream of road is not in a far distance
Yang Zhihua from Hunan has been doing leather business in Vientiane, capital of Laos, for 18 years. For him, China-Laos Railway means efficiency, dynamics and energy. ‘In the past, it took high land transport cost and long time. A truck had to run for half a month on the road. Upon the completion of this railway, it will only take three days.’
According to Fang Zhenru, Senior Supervisor of China Communications Construction Company (M) Sdn Bhd, the Railway means resource allocation and balanced and coordinative development in regions of a country. As a man who has engaged in railway field overseas for 30 years, he said, the East Coast Rail Line in Malaysia links the two harbors in Malaysia and to Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, being a good policy to balance the development pace in the east and west of Malaya. ‘Upon completion of this Railway, throughput of passengers and goods will increase greatly. By that time, it will have only taken 4 hours from the border of Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, starting a new time for economy in the east of Malaya.’
Making the best use of every moment, the constructors of Laos-China Railway are busy in the rain season. (photo taken by Zhang Jianhua, reporter from Xinhua Agency)
Similarly, cooperation on railway between China and Thailand has also been put on an agenda. Piriya Khempon, ambassador of Thailand in China, said Thai governments are positively involving in railway construction. ‘With Thailand-China Railway, it would only take less than 7 hours to travel to Bangkok from Kunming.’
Trains run and can run quickly, bring fresh idea to the people along the railway.
According to Xu Zhou, Manager of Division II of Section 6 of China-Laos Railway, it is not just engineering work to construct a railway. It is more like a process of communication in hearts and minds. ‘Through chatting, many local people began to agree with our ideas,’ said Xu Zhou, ‘that is, life can be changed and a country can be developed only if efforts are made to create value.’
Continued: picture above – on October 12, Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd. organized a large visiting group consisting of more than 200 people to watch the construction work of 努瓦山 tunnel of China-Laos Railway.Picture below – exterior shot ofMount. Nuwa tunnel of China-Laos Railway in Meng Say, Oudomxay, Laos (published by Xinhua News Agency)
[Become rich on a win-win road of enriching a life]
Trains run to enrich a life. Bounchanh Kombounyasith, Deputy Director of Department of Planting, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Laos, believed it without any doubt. Now he is thinking, from the angle of agriculture, of any resources that can be activated, opportunities that can be provided and potentials that can be unleashed.
‘We are stipulating a future agricultural development mode according to the railway plan. It is hoped that natural and green Laotian agricultural products, based on land and labors in Laos and depending on the market, capital and technology of China, can be served on Chinese dining tables by trains and bring more chances to Laotian farmers to become rich,’ said Bounchanh.
The dream of Bounchanh, however, cannot be realized without the involvement by Chinese enterprises. Now, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Laos is working with Xuanye (Laos) Co., Ltd.), a Chinese enterprise, to plan a modernized China-Laos agricultural industry park depending on the railway.
‘We will build a comprehensive modern agricultural industry park integrating processing, storage, logistics and scientific research of agricultural products.’ Said Xu Guowu, Chairman of Xuanye Co. ‘It will become the largest and most influential trading platform for agricultural products in Southeast Asia. It will also be an international purchase platform and rail-served inland port covering Laos and China as well as the whole Indo-China Peninsula.’
Workers are packing Laotian rice in a workshop of Xuanye (Laos) Co., Ltd. – a Chinese company (photo taken by Ling Shuo, reporter of Xinhua News Agency)
Souphanh Keomisay, Minister of Planning and Investment of Laos had a blueprint of planning development of economy along Laos-China Railway in his heart. He told the reporter that Laotian governments are fostering some major industries along the Railway such as industry, tourism, logistics and crop processing. The Railway drives the local economy and the industries along the Railway returned the benefits to construction of railway and running cost, by which a positive interaction of mutual supports between the Railway and economy along the Railway will be formed.
Not only Laotian governments thought so. Malaysian governments are also expecting the revitalization of east coastal economic zone. ‘Malaysian governments have been working on a plan for east coastal economic zone for many years without any improvement. It is believed that east coastal rail line will make the east coastal economic zone come true,’ said Fang Zhenru.
[link together by a road of friendship to connect people’s hearts]
Wen Mi, a young man in Laos, is a crane driver working on the construction site of China-Laos Railway. His home is in Luang Prabang in the north of Laos. ‘I was grown up there. It was always a trouble from there to Vientiane by car,’ said he. ‘I heard of a traffic tool called train in my childhood. But I have never seen it. I want to keep working until the railway is open. Then I will go back home by train along the railway which I have involved in construction in person.’
When hot feelings are placed on cold rails, railway is not more a facility, trading or financing. It will become a spiritual connection with the contact and connection in culture, value and feelings.
On October 28, 2018, Tourism Year of Laos kicked off in Vientiane, capital of Laos. (published by Xinhua News Agency)
Wang Jinhao, a Malaysian Chinese old lady, hoped for quicker and quicker connection of railway so that she could take the train from Malaysia to Guangdong Province, her native place, for tour visit during her lifetime. ‘It is a pity that I have never been to China. I am desperate to travel along the railway to China for a look. I’m looking forward to that day.’
Hand in hand and heart to heart might be the plainest original point and destination of the Belt and Road. ‘I think no matter what plans and policies a country make or no matter how they do, it is always most important to bring benefits to people and make them a better life,’ said Khemmany Pholsena, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Laos and Chairman of Laos-China Cooperation Commission. (reported by Xinhua International Client)