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China, Laos vow to enhance partnership

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BEIJING, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- China and Laos will continue their relationship as good neighbors, friends, comrades and partners forever, senior Chinese leader Jia Qinglin said here Wednesday.

Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), made the remarks as he met with Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith in the Great Hall of the People Wednesday morning.

Jia said China-Laos relations have been growing stronger since the two countries established diplomatic ties 50 years ago.

He said China places great importance on the development of bilateral relations and is ready to work with Laos to build on their traditional friendship and to constantly add fresh content to the comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership they formed in 2009.

Jia said China is prepared to maintain the present momentum of high-level contact with Laos as the two sides will hold a series of activities marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

Chinese President Hu Jintao made a state visit to Laos in 2006. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice President Xi Jinping visited Laos in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) Central Committee, made an official good-will visit to Laos last week. During the visit, the two countries signed 12 bilateral cooperation agreements.

During the meeting with Thongloun, Jia recalled his visit to Laos in 2008 and thanked Thongloun for the importance he attaches to developing China-Laos relations.

Thongloun said the Lao side is prepared to maintain the frequent exchange of visits by leaders and high-ranking officials as the two countries celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic links.

He also said more senior leaders of Laos will visit China later this year.

Lao President Choummaly Sayasone has visited China four times since he became president in 2006.

Jia said China is ready to expand pragmatic cooperation with Laos in all fields.

Thongloun said Laos is ready to work with China to enhance pragmatic cooperation in all areas, strengthen coordination and cooperation, and continually lift the comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership to new levels.

Two-way trade between China and Laos exceeded 1 billion U.S. dollars last year, marking year-on-year growth of more than 40 percent. China has become the largest foreign investor in Laos.

Jia expressed the appreciation to the government and ruling party of Laos for their firm and long-term adherence to the one-China policy. He said the CPPCC has maintained close, friendly communication with the Lao Front for National Reconstruction. He expressed hope that the two sides could strengthen exchanges so as to contribute to the development of bilateral links.

China and Laos have supported and coordinated with each other on regional and international issues. Laos is set to host the Ninth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) at the end of next year. China agreed to work with Laos to ensure the success of the meeting.

Thongloun is in Beijing for a visit to China from Monday to Friday at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi.

Thongloun and Yang held talks on Tuesday and signed agreements on boundary management principles, border ports management principles, a cooperation protocol between the two foreign ministries, and a memorandum on China providing aid worth 800,000 yuan (about 125,000 U.S. dollars) to the victims of cluster munitions in Laos.

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