VIENTIANE, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The ties between China and Laos have been experiencing the best development period in history, and are bound for an even brighter future, Chinese Ambassador to Laos Guan Huabing said here on Friday.
In an interview with Xinhua ahead of the visit to China by Lao President Choummaly Saygnasone, the ambassador said that currently the bilateral ties have been experiencing the best development in history, thanks to the joint efforts by the two sides.
Choummaly Saygnasone, who is also secretary general of the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP), will pay an official visit to China from Sept. 26 to 30.
Earlier this month, Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong attended the 10th ASEAN-China Expo in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, where he met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Frequent high level exchanges boosts bilateral relations, and pushes forward and enriches the content of the all-round strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Laos, said the ambassador.
Since the establishment of the China-ASEAN free trade zone in 2010, the bilateral trade between the two countries has been keeping growth, and the two sides have boosted cooperation in various fields including such projects as railways and roads, law enforcement and security as well as culture.
"China has become Laos' second largest trading partner and source of import, as well as its third largest export market," Guan said.
"The establishment of China-ASEAN free trade zone effectively promoted the economic growth of both China and Laos and realized mutual benefits," he added.
According to statistics from the embassy, China-Laos bilateral trade volume first reached 1 billion U.S. dollars in 2010. The figure expanded to 1.728 billion U.S. dollars in 2012.
In the first five months of 2013, bilateral trade stood at 794 million U.S. dollars and China's non-financial direct investment to Laos reached 339 million U.S. dollars. China has 745 projects in Laos with investment of 5 billion U.S. dollars, according to Lao statistics.
Guan said developing comprehensive strategic cooperation is in line with the interests of the two countries.