China has initiated large scale infrastructure projects in many countries as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and from the perspective of Laos, this initiative is a heaven-sent and golden opportunity to modernize and catch up with rapidly evolving global changes, local daily Vientiane Times' editorial desk commented in an opinion article on Tuesday.
The Lao government believes that the only way to sustain economic growth is to attract high-quality investment, the Lao daily said.
To attract such investment from overseas, improvement of the business climate alone is insufficient. Laos also needs much better roads and public services. In addition, the country must transform from being landlocked to a land link within the region, said the report.
With regional connectivity being a strategic goal, Laos sees the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative as a heaven-sent opportunity.
Under this initiative, China is offering financial support to build the Laos-China railway, which runs from the Lao-Chinese border to Lao capital Vientiane. The railway will run through Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
So far, Thailand and Malaysia have agreed in principle to participate in this project. The parties concerned have been discussing details and hope to finalize the joint investment project in the near future.
"Laos actively participated in convincing Thailand and Malaysia to take part in the project, not just to please China but because it believes the venture will benefit the entire region as the improvement of the transport network will boost regional trade and prosperity," read the comment.
Laos views China's offer as a not-to-be-missed opportunity to drive its ambition to integrate into the global economy. The Lao government needs the Belt and Road Initiative to transform from its land-locked status into a land-linked country so that Laos can make use of every opportunity to build a modern economy and alleviate poverty, the opinion article concluded.