Chinese Foreign Minister to Visit Laos amid ASEAN Tour

Chinese foreign minister to visit Laos amid ASEAN tour

China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is to visit Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos and Thailand from October 11 to 15, completing the trip with a stop in Singapore, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

Global Times reports that the visit by Foreign Minister Wang comes after an overseas visit made by senior diplomat Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), this week to Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Algeria and Serbia under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

China and ASEAN countries have seen increased visits between top officials in recent months, as the relationship between China and Southeast Asian countries continues to grow.

In June, ASEAN surpassed the EU as China’s largest trading partner, with total trade from January to August reaching USD 416.5 billion.

Foreign Minister Wang began his Southeast Asia tour in Cambodia on Monday, signing a new free trade agreement while in Phnom Penh, witnessed by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The agreement will see 98 percent of China’s imports from Cambodia receiving tariff-free status, while 90 percent of Cambodia’s exports to Cambodia will be exempt from tariffs. China remains Cambodia’s main market for rice, mangoes and bananas.

China also agreed to provide $140 million in aid for Cambodia for infrastructure and development.

Mr. Wang is expected to arrive in Laos tomorrow, meeting with high-ranking officials until Thursday.