Tag Archives: laos-china

Laos Saw More Chinese, Less Korean Tourists in Past Six Months

Tourists in Laos at Kuang Si Waterfall

The number of tourists visiting Laos has increased 5 percent in the past six months thanks to a rise in the number of Chinese visitors.

Laos and China open Joint Lab for Renewable Energy Study

renewable energy laos-china-wind-farm

Laos and China have opened a joint laboratory for the study of renewable energy in Vientiane Capital, according to a press release by the Chinese Embassy in Laos.

The laboratory was constructed through a partnership between the Renewable Energy and New Material Research Institute, under the Lao Ministry of Science and Technology and China’s Yunnan Normal University.

The partnership is being supported by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

An inauguration ceremony was held on Tuesday in the presence of Lao Minister of Science and Technology Boviengkham Vongdara, President of Yunnan Normal University Jiang Yongwen, and Chinese Ambassador to Laos Wang Wentian.

Following the ceremony, the Chinese ambassador and the Lao minister of science and technology held talks to discuss further cooperation between the two friendly nations in the field of science and technology.

The renewable energy laboratory, officially named the Laos-China Joint Laboratory for Renewable Energy Utilization and Development, will undertake research on renewable energies, and may help Laos to ensure it generates electricity from 100% renewable sources in the future.

Source: Xinhua
Photo: Dailytech

Officials say Visit Laos-China Year 2019 Likely to Happen

With Visit Laos Year 2018 officially launched, talks of possibly introducing a Visit Laos-China Year 2019 have arose.

A minister has confirmed that Lao officials have discussed with their Chinese counterparts to push forward a plan to jointly introduce Visit Laos-China Year 2019.

The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Prof. Dr Bosengkham Vongdara told the ongoing 4th Ordinary Session of the National Assembly’s 8th Legislature, “The launch of the Visit Laos-China Year 2019 campaign is highly possible.”

Chinese Ambassador to Laos, Wang Wentian, recently stated to Lao and Chinese media that thanks to the country’s long history, stunning scenery and fascinating attractions, combined with sincere and hospitable people who welcome visitors, Laos has a lot to offer foreign tourists.

Laos received an estimated 4.23 million visitors in 2016, and more than 700,000 were Chinese tourists on holiday.

Although Laos and China have both benefited from sound cooperation from tourism in past years, the ambassador highlighted that there was a potential to increase the number of Chinese visitors to Laos. Currently, an estimated 120 million Chinese take vacations abroad each year on average, and are dominating the global tourism market.

“If just one percent of Chinese outbound tourists came to Laos, the country would receive as many as 1.2 million Chinese visitors a year,” Ambassador Wang stated. In light of this potential, the ambassador said he initiated the idea of jointly launching Visit Laos-China Year 2019.

Though the initiative is still in its infancy stages and has yet to be approved, the ambassador remains confident that through the efforts of both sides, the proposal will be welcomed. He also mentioned that his embassy fully supports the concept and would assist in running a publicity campaign in China to promote Lao tourism, particularly during Visit Laos Year 2018.

“The proposed launch of Visit Laos-China Year 2019 is a lead-up to the completion of the Laos-China railway,” he added, referring to the slated completion date of 2021.

Ambassador Wang indicated that a promotion aimed at bringing more Chinese visitors to Laos would be the most effective use of the Laos-China railway.

Source: Asia News Network

Residents Await Laos-China Railway Compensation Payments

Preliminary counts have been completed in the provinces through which the Laos-China railway will pass, to pave the way for compensation to be paid to the affected villagers and residents who will be relocated.

However affected residents in the provinces through which the railway will pass, and particularly the owners of parcels of land and buildings that will be used or demolished to make way for the railway, have yet to receive any compensation. Director of the Luang Prabang provincial Public Works and Transport Department, Mr Fasanan Thammavong, told the press in the prefecture that the preliminary surveys for the affected people and counts for compensation payments have already been completed.

The compensation to be paid for property owners in Luang Prabang has still not been approved by the Laos-China railway project’s committee, Mr Fasanan said.

The railway bridge will be part of the planned 427-km Laos-China railway running from the Chinese border to Vientiane through the four provinces of Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane to the capital and linking to the Thai border.

In Luang Prabang province, the railway will run through 29 villages over a length of 80 kilometres taking in the three districts of Chomphet, Luang Prabang and Xiengngeun.

Mr Fasanan added that officials in Luang Prabang will also be examining compensation payments in Oudomxay and Vientiane provinces in order to compare them to ensure that they are equivalent with the other provinces.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith will officially launch the construction of the Laos-China railway project at a ceremony on December 25.

The ceremony to kick off railway construction will take place in Luang Prabang district’s Phonxay village where a railway bridge spanning the Mekong River will be built.

On Sunday, Luang Prabang will be the site of the official launch of the project and provincial authorities intend to seek clarification from the Chinese construction company about where within Luang Prabang they intend to start initial works so that they can meet with affected villagers for mediation.

Luang Prabang has already prepared the parcels of land for relocation for the railway-impacted villages.

Meanwhile in Oudomxay, there are 40 villages in the three districts of Xay, Nga and Namor through which the railway will pass, over a distance of 126 kilometres.

In Luang Namtha, the three villages of Boten, Tinsan and Nateuy are located within the vicinity of the construction site, which runs through the province for only a distance of 16.9 kilometres.

The Laos-China Railway Project is estimated to cost about US$6 billion and will run from the border area of Boten in Luang Namtha province to Vientiane. It is scheduled for completion in 2021 and is 70 percent owned by China and 30 percent by Laos.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Laos-China Railway: Details of Required Workforce still Unknown

Authorities are still waiting for information on the kind of work to be undertaken by Lao labourers and the number required to help build the railway that will link Vientiane to the Chinese border.

Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Dr Khampheng Saysompheng, told local media last week that his ministry has not yet been informed about worker numbers and the skills required, despite the fact that construction of the 427-km railway is scheduled to start this month.

He stressed the need for the bodies involved to coordinate with and inform his ministry as soon as possible so that training in the requisite skill sets can be given.

Dr Khampheng said that while the railway has been under discussion for some time, no labour requirements have yet been supplied.

We still don’t know what kinds of skills are needed, he told the media while attending a meeting in Vientiane of the cabinet, Vientiane Mayor and provincial governors, which ended last week.

Labour issues have been a topic of debate since a plan to build the US$6 billion railway was proposed several years ago. Given that Lao workers lack skills in this area, some people have voiced concern that the mega project will not create as many jobs for Lao people as hoped. The matter has been discussed but the details remain unclear.

It was previously stated that more than 50,000 workers would be required to build the railway.

Dr Khampheng said he had suggested that the project should create as many jobs as possible for Lao people.

There is a need for further detailed talks on the labour issue, otherwise foreign workers will be hired [for railway construction], he added.

Given the limited timeframe between now and the start of the project, he said Laos was unlikely to be able to train and prepare highly skilled technicians.

Minister of Public Works and Transport, Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong, said previously that the coordinating committee had been preparing details on labour recruitment and promised that the recruitment plan would ensure that local people would be employed.

A senior official at the Lao Federation of Trade Unions previously expressed concern that local workers could suffer in competing for jobs on the project given that Lao workers have no skills in railway construction. The official, who asked not to be named, said there were no training courses in Laos in this field.

It will probably be inevitable that a large number of foreign workers will be hired once construction starts, he said, adding that the number would likely exceed the quantity of foreign workers permitted by law.

The amended Labour Law, which was passed by the National Assembly in December 2013, allows a workplace or enterprise to employ up to 15 percent of the total workforce on a project as manual labourers.

In addition, a workplace can employ up to 25 percent of its workforce as white-collar professionals.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Laos-China Railway Awaits Landmine Clearance

Luang Namtha province: — Construction of the Laos-China railway in Luang Namtha province has yet to commence as some UXO clearance activities need to be completed before the rail builders can move full steam ahead with the project.

The Ministry of National Defence has reported to the Luang Namtha provincial government that one of three villages in Namor district where the railway will pass through has yet to be cleared of unexploded bombs.

A provincial coordinator of the Laos-China project, Mr Chanthachone Keolakhone, told the press on Wednesday that the three villages of Boten, Tinsan and Nateuy are located within the vicinity of the construction site.

The section in question where UXO may remain is some 16.9 kilometres long.

The Ministry of National Defence reported the mines are in Nateuy village, he said.

The railway bridge is part of the planned 427-km Laos-China railway that will run from the Chinese border to Vientiane through Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang and Vientiane provinces.

The Chinese construction company completed about 70 percent of the marking of the railway in Luang Namtha before the company suspended the project to clear some landmines in Nateuy village.

The Minister of Public Works and Transport ordered the clearance of unexploded ordnance or UXO in the corridor through which the railway will pass.

Mr Chanthachone added that there are two stations in Luang Namtha but the big station will be in Nateuy village and the smaller one in Boten village, which is situated on the border between Laos and China.

Compensation is to be paid to the owners of parcels of land or buildings in the three villages that will be used or demolished to make way for the Laos-China railway.

Negotiations for compensation are currently underway. All of the affected families have agreed to make way for the construction of the Laos-China railway but say they expect reasonable compensation to move.

The railway project is 70 percent owned by China and 30 percent by Laos.

The US$6 billion railway, to be built over a distance of 427 km, will be completed by 2021.

The railway will use a 1.435-metre standard-gauge track. There will be 33 stations, 21 of which will be operational initially.

There will be 72 tunnels with a total length of 183.9 km, representing 43 percent of the railway’s total length. The line will also have 170 bridges totalling 69.2 km in length, accounting for 15.8 percent of the total.

Passenger trains will travel at 160 km per hour, while the speed of rail freight will be 120 km per hour.

The railway in Laos will link with the track in Thailand to form part of the regional rail link known as the Kunming-Singapore railway, covering a total distance of about 3,000km.

Source: Vientiane Times

Laos-China Railway to Spur Border Zone Development

The Laos-China railway will provide significant momentum for the development of the Boten-Mohan border economic cooperation zone, experts have noted.

The railroad, a key project under China’s Belt and Road initiative, will link the Mohan-Boten border crossing in northern Laos to Vientiane, over a distance of 427 kilometres.

Experts are optimistic that the border economic cooperation zone could become a regional hub for trade, investment and tourism once the almost-US$6 -billion railway is complete.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told his visiting Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith in Beijing last week that China is willing to work with Laos to push forward the development of the railway and economic cooperation zone.

The two premiers witnessed the signing of two cooperative documents on border trade and the economic cooperative zone.

Mr Thongloun said he was committed to building the railway as it was of great importance to Laos in transforming the land-locked country into a land link within the region.

The political commitment by the two countries aims to ensure that the two projects progress as planned.

Located at the Mohan Border Port, which is China’s gateway to Laos and provides access to Southeast Asia’s most convenient land route, the economic zone has significant investment potential.

The Boten Specific Economic Zone is located in Luang Namtha province and is accessible by Road No. R3.

The zone is being developed by two Chinese companies – Yunnan Hai Cheng Industrial Group Stock Co., Ltd. and Hong Kong Fuk Hing Travel Entertainment Group Ltd.

Vice President of the zone’s management board, Mr Vonekham Phetthavong, told Vientiane Times recently that the developers are concentrating on infrastructure development and providing facilities to accommodate the investment and tourism sectors.

We are building two hotels which could be as high as 15 storeys, to accommodate tourists, he said.

About 1,000 tourists visit the zone each month. Our activities include trekking in forests, watching cultural performances and other activities.

The US$500 million project covers 1,640 hectares and comes with a concession period of 99 years.

The Chinese developers will focus on four large-scale projects: a duty free centre, bus station complex, warehousing and a resort featuring a large natural marsh, hotel, meeting hall and leisure areas.

Mr Vonekham said many more investors and visitors will head to northern Laos once the economic cooperation zone in the Boten-Mohan border area is fully operational.

However, so far the project has not progressed as anticipated. As of August this year, only a little over US$50 million had been spent on the Boten Specific Economic Zone by the new Chinese developers.

The China-Laos railway is a vital part of the trans-Asia railway network that will link China with ASEAN nations to boost economic cooperation and people-to-people ties.

Construction is expected to start simultaneously in a number of provinces this month, with the whole railway scheduled for completion over the next five years.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Construction, Consultancy Firms Sign on for Laos-China Railway

Five Chinese construction companies and six consultancy firms have been selected for engagement in the Laos-China Railway Project, with construction expected to start in December.