(ECNS) -- Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on Sunday said The China-Laos Railway has seen booming passenger and freight services since it became open to traffic over a year ago.
Spokesperson Mao Ning made the comment at a regular news briefing when asked whether the China-Laos Railway delivers benefits to the local people.
Last month, cross-border passenger trains started running in opposite directions departing from Kunming of China and Vientiane of Laos respectively. A one-way journey takes less than half a day.
This has made people-to-people exchange much easier and given a strong boost to the development of tourism and trade cooperation, Mao said.
Mao pointed out that the China-Laos Railway has been a boon in terms of employment. Since its operation started, the railway has employed more than 3,500 Laotian staff and created over 100,000 jobs indirectly by catalyzing progress in logistics, transportation, trade and commerce, tourism and other sectors, she said, adding that thanks to the railway, more and more young people in Laos have the opportunity to travel beyond the mountains where they have always lived.
The China-Laos Railway has given a strong boost to trade, she said. The railway has sent 3.26 million tonnes of exported cargo from Laos and Thailand to China. Transportation of goods from many ASEAN countries have also benefited from this golden transportation route. Today, it only takes three days for glutinous rice from Laos and durian from Thailand to reach the tables of Chinese consumers, the spokesperson added.
Mao also stressed that ecological conservation has been a top priority during the construction and operation of the China-Laos Railway. “The railway avoided going through six natural and cultural protection areas and protected forests at the national level. The total greening area along the railway is over 3 million square meters. All these efforts are aimed to ensure that the beautiful natural landscape will not be affected,” she said.
“The China-Laos Railway is an epitome of China’s Belt and Road cooperation with the world. We aim to share more opportunities generated by connectivity with regional countries to achieve development and prosperity for all,” the spokesperson added.