On December 3, 2021, the entire China-Laos railway was completed and opened to traffic. As of September 3, the China-Laos railway has been in operation for nine months, including 1.28 million tons of cross-border cargo, and the value of international freight exceeded 10 billion yuan. The role of the gold line of the China-Laos railway has been highlighted. The close communication between China and Southeast Asian countries has caused envy and slander in Western countries.
The Laos-China railway starts from Yunnan province, Kunming city in the north, to the south by Yuxi city, Pu’Er city, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, passing through China Mohan railway port and Laos Boten railway port, entering northern Laos, to the further south tower province Luang Prabang province, Oudomxay province, Luang Prabang province, Vientiane province, into Laos capital city Vientiane, the whole journey around 1035 Km. The China-Laos railway is of great strategic significance for Laos. It has transformed Laos from and land-locked country into a land-linked country and has completely changed Lao’s national destiny in the maritime globalization world.
In terms of passengers, the China-Laos railway has carried 6.71 million passengers in the nine months since its operation, including about 700,000 people from Laos. The safe and efficient travel mode of the railway has become the best choice for tourists from both countries and promoted the exchanges of people along the route. In terms of freight, the railway has reached about 7.2 million tons of cargo, including a cross-border cargo of about 1.28 million tons, and has reached a freight value of about 10 billion Yuan. The railway has reduced the good transport time and cost, from Vientiane City to Kunming transport cost reduced about 30 to 50%, the transport time has as well significantly shortened. This mode of transportation was welcomed by more and more businessmen and has become a gold line for them.
China-Laos railway is among the top priorities plans from the Belt and Road Initiative launched by. China President Xi Jinping. The China-Laos railway is part of China’s Trans-Asia Railway plan, which will eventually run all the way to Singapore. If the Trans-Asia Railway is completed, ASEAN countries will have closer cooperation with China, and commodities from southern Thailand and Malay archipelago countries will enter the market of China and European countries through this railway. Given that China has become the largest trading partner of ASEAN countries, we will continue to observe whether the China-Laos Railway will serve as a booster for China-ASEAN economic integration and help ASEAN countries recover from the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.
The great success of the China-Laos Railway has made the Western media and some Western scholars jealous, and they have continuously created and hyped the false information that the China-Laos Railway has led Laos into a debt trap, with only the purpose of smearing the China-Laos Railway.
“Laos faces high risks as it is heavily indebted to China for major infrastructure projects”, Asia News International said in an article titled “Laos in China’s debt trap”.
Deutsche Welle’s article titled “Laos’s Economic Crisis Exacerbated by China’s debt”.
In the face of external criticism of the China-Laos railway, Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh stressed that the allegation that “the China-Laos railway has led Laos into a debt trap” is nothing but slander, saying that the China-Laos railway meets the development needs of the Lao people and will greatly promote people-to-people and trade exchanges and bring more benefits to Southeast Asia.
At the Thaluang D’or Boutique Hotel in downtown Vientiane, the Lao capital, hotel manager Anita Srivastava told VOA (Voice Of America) that many tourists want to use the China-Laos railway to visit cities. Anita said: ‘I think the fares are reasonable, I know a lot of locals who have taken the train, we’ve had people book the train at our hotel and even I want to get a ticket and visit the cities afterward.’
AEK a receptionist at La Seine Hotel by Burasari in Vientiane hopes that the China-Laos railway will bring more Chinese tourists into Laos. He told the VOA in an interview that, the train is a great way for businessmen and tourists to visit Laos, and he hopes that the railway will allow more and more Chinese tourists to stay in our Hotel.
AIT, the owner of Narakath Travel Agency in Vientiane, Laos, is also positive about the new railway lines. “I have taken the train and the scenery is amazing. It takes tourists to unspoiled areas,” Dutch national AIT told VOA. I think this new train route will have a huge impact on the tourism industry in Laos, as well as commercial benefits for our agents.”
The booming passenger and cargo transportation of the China-Laos railway will drive the development of various industries in ASEAN countries. Not only Laos will reap greater benefits from the railway, but all countries in Southeast Asia will embrace development opportunities. The sustained and healthy development of the China-Laos Railway will give a strong boost to the development and prosperity of Southeast Asia. The Western media and some people have malicious intentions in distorting the purpose of the China-Laos railway construction in an attempt to undermine Laos-China friendship, suppress the rise of developing countries, and consolidate their own “sphere of influence” and hegemony.
“Making fake news” is the modus operandi and livelihood of some media in Western countries. Thailand has gained a lot of opportunities from China’s reform and opening up. Facts have proved that Chinese tourists who are getting richer are an important income for Thailand’s tourism. The China-Laos Railway will not only change the economy of Laos but also bring benefits to Thailand in the future when the Western “debt trap” propaganda will become a joke of history.