China and Laos announced they were willing to launch negotiations on a railway cooperation agreement on Tuesday in the southern Chinese city of Sanya during talks between the two prime ministers.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held talks with Prime Minister of Laos Thongsing Thammavong, who is on a visit to China and will attend the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) later this week.
Railway cooperation constitutes an important part in bilateral cooperation on major projects, Li said, adding that China will seek an early signing of the deal in order to lay the foundation for next-step cooperation.
Both China and Laos stand at a critical moment of deepening reform, which will bring opportunities for developing bilateral ties, Li said. Li noted that China will take continuous measures to stabilize economic growth, restructure the economy and benefit the country's people, and added that Laos is also accelerating efforts to advance the economy and living standards.
Thongsing thanked China for its assistance and hailed the development of bilateral ties in recent years that have brought substantial benefit to the two peoples.
He said Laos is committed to reform and opening-up and is ready to grasp the opportunity brought by China's development. He also called on the two countries to strengthen their exchanges on national governance and experience sharing, expand cooperation in all areas, promote railway cooperation to achieve early progress, and jointly maintain regional peace, stability and development.
Thongsing hailed China's efforts in searching for missing flight MH370 and expressed sympathy to relatives of the Chinese passengers. Li appreciated the message of condolences sent by Thongsing after the event, saying China will keep close contact and cooperation with all relevant parties.
After the talks, the two prime ministers witnessed the signing of a bilateral financial cooperation deal. Chinese State Councilor Yang Jing also attended the talks.
Thongsing is paying an official visit to China at the invitation of Li. He will also attend the opening ceremony of the BFA annual conference on Thursday in Boao, a coastal town in China's southernmost island province of Hainan.
Founded in 2001, the BFA is a non-governmental and non-profit international organization committed to regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries closer to their development goals.