China-Laos railway enhances bilateral friendship
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese president, and Thongloun Sisoulith, general secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party Central Committee and Lao president, jointly witnessed the opening of the railway via video link December 3, 2021.
The electrified passenger and freight railway runs 1,035 km, including 422 km in Laos, from the city of Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province, to Lao capital Vientiane. In the future, the Kunming -Vientiane trip could be reduced to a matter of ten hours.
Noting China-Laos Railway a flagship project of mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, Xi called on both sides to make persistent efforts, maintain and operate the railway well, develop and construct well the areas along the line, and create a golden line for the benefit of the people of both countries.
As a docking project between the Belt and Road Initiative and Laos' strategy to convert itself from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub, Thongloun said, the railway will greatly promote Laos' national economic and social development.
So what does the China-Laos railway really mean? In the eyes of Chinese and Laotians, the railway is the road to prosperity, technology, culture and growth, carrying forward the ideas of connectivity, mutual benefit and win-win results.
Road to prosperity
"Since the China-Laos railway was opened to traffic, the logistics between Laos and China have been much easier, and the transport cost of commodities has been reduced."
In Vientiane, 46-year-old Anman's plan for future life is closely related to the China-Laos railway. He will open a small shop selling goods from China, as soon as the Covid comes to an end.
Once, construction of the China-Laos railway enabled Anman to gain a well-paid job. Now, the railway has opened to traffic, and he sees unlimited business opportunities between the two countries.
Road to green life
located in Jinghong, south Yunnan’s Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture, the railway’s station of Yexianggu is adjacent to a Asian elephant reserve.
To avoid disturbing the elephants and protect the local vegetation, the builders came up with a brilliant plan: via which most of the station facilities were built in the tunnel.
Road to culture
China-Laos Friendship Nongping Primary School is located in Chanthabouly district of the Lao capital Vientiane. It was built out of Chinese aid in 2012. Since then, China has assigned volunteer teachers and offered teaching materials to the school.
On Children's Day in 2019, Laos-China Railway Company invited teachers and students of the school to the construction site for an in-person experience on building the railway. Last tear, the company also donated sports facilities and medical supplies.
Road to technology
The Friendship Railway Tunnel is 7.17 kilometers in China and 2.42 kilometers in Laos. Because of sand mud, mud stones and fault fractures, the interior geology is fragile, posing challenges to the engineers.
Starting in June 2016, China Railway No.2 Engineering Group (CREC-2) managed to overcome the difficulties of high corrosiveness of rock salt within 16 months. And the construction was thus sped up.
In the future, the China-Laos railway is expected to be connected with the Thai railway network, injecting vigor into regional growth.
Source: Champa Magazine; Trans-editing by Wang Shixue