Lao PM to lead first trip on historic Laos-China railway

  • Laos
  • Tuesday, 16 Nov 2021

The Lane Xang EMU train passes by the China-Laos borderline inside a tunnel, on Oct 15, 2021. - Xinhua

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): The Party leadership has resolved that the Prime Minister will lead other senior officials in the first trip on the Laos-China railway, which is scheduled to officially come into service next month.

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 PDR on Dec 2.

The event will begin with a religious ceremony on Dec 2 before the official opening ceremony on Dec 3.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Sonexay Siphandone chaired a meeting in Vientiane on Nov 13 to review the progress made in preparations for the opening of the railway.

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

“We have already conducted a trial run of the train so the governments of Laos and China have agreed to officially open the railway on Dec 3,” he said.

“High-level leaders from the two countries will be present at the official opening ceremony. I think that we are ready for this event.”

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

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 US$5.9 billion railway.

The party advised the bodies concerned to inform the Chinese side that Party Secretary General and State President Thongloun Sisoulith would be honoured to attend the official opening ceremony.

The party delegated relevant sectors of government and the Laos-China Railway Company Limited to carry out comprehensive preparations and ensure that all works are complete 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.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant bodies have been entrusted to draw up clear plans for the event.

Train tickets for passengers and transport fees must be calculated and the public informed before the opening ceremony.

Officials have been instructed to work with local authorities in provinces through which the railway passes to prevent the theft of railway components and electrical cables.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been advised to collaborate with China to invite members of the diplomatic corps and international organisations to attend the opening ceremony.

Construction of the 422.4-km railway began in December 2016. It is expected to cut the cost of transport through Laos by 30-40 per cent compared to travel by road.

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Laos , China , railway , train , opening , events


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