Laos Planned Railways: Opening a National Rail Network in 2021

At present, Laos doesn’t have any railways. However, that is about to change in 2021. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Laos counterpart  Saleumxay Kommasith last week in a virtual meeting to discuss progress on the China-Laos Economic Corridor. Both Governments have occasions to celebrate this year, individually and bilaterally. China will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, while Laos celebrates the 35th anniversary of their ‘New Economic Mechanism’. That is state policy adopted in 1986, and aims for a transition of its socialist control and autarchic economy to a market economy – in other words, a socialist form of capitalism.

2021 also marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Laos and the China-Laos Friendship Year, which is being designed to accelerate cooperative projects. This has specific implications for developments in Laos and the China-Laos Economic Corridor as well as the new Laos National Railway network.

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Chris Devonshire-Ellis