VIENTIANE, July 4 (Xinhua) -- China and Laos are set to boost cooperation and technical assistance in the construction of roads and bridges to facilitate the faster and safer implementation of high quality projects.
Representatives of Lao and Chinese construction companies and Lao government officials gathered in Lao capital Vientiane on Wednesday to exchange experiences and get feedback on developments in new construction techniques, technology and materials.
The meeting was organized by the Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport in cooperation with Guangxi Liugong Machinery Co.,Ltd and VK Group, local marketing agent of Guangxi Liugong.
During the meeting, participants discussed and exchanged ideas on four main topics, comprise of the road development plan and strategy of Laos, management of machinery and vehicle imports in Laos, technologically advanced machinery for road and bridge construction in China, and the material supply plans for road construction, etc., VK Group, a Chinese joint venture in Laos, told Xinhua on Thursday.
"Infrastructure development is a key focus of the national public works and transport sector which is promoting different companies, organizations and relevant sectors to participate in construction and design by using new techniques, technology and equipment, but safety and high quality are a priority for all projects," Lao Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport, Viengsavath Siphansone said.
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China, aims at promoting infrastructure development, and this meeting is necessary for the exchange of experiences between Lao and Chinese technicians. It will lead to the promotion of win-win cooperation for both sides, local daily Vientiane Times on Thursday quoted Lao officials as saying at the meeting.
China and Laos have been cooperating and assisting each other in different sectors, and the construction of roads and bridges can further boost relations between the two sides. Currently, many construction companies and infrastructure development projects in Laos have cooperated with the Chinese side, said the report.
Laos is facing various challenges in developing transport infrastructure, including limited funding, according to the Road and Bridge Department of Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport. The sector needs about 168 million U.S. dollars annually for improving and repairing roads, but it received only 72 million U.S. dollars this year, said the daily.
Laos' underlying infrastructure does not meet regional standards with many roads unable to cope with the weight borne by trucks in neighboring countries, and this affects integration with the region. Some 2,016 villages in Laos only have access to roads in the dry season, and another 394 communities do not have access to roads at all, according to the department's statistics.