A centerpiece of China’s Belt and Road Initiative of state-led lending for infrastructure projects to tie countries across Asia to China, the railway offers land-locked Laos the promise of closer integration with the world’s second largest economy, but also the peril of deeper indebtedness to Beijing, analysts say. The China-Laos Railway “carries the railway dream of the Lao people,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.
“The railway is a milestone and joyous event in the bilateral relationship,” he told a news conference Thursday.
Thursday’s soft opening of the railway was timed for the 46thanniversary of the Communist revolution in Laos and the 60thanniversary of China-Laos diplomatic ties. Friday’s formal ceremony will feature video speeches by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Lao counterpart, Thongloun Sisoulith.