BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping said that as good neighbors, friends, comrades and partners, China and Laos enjoy a shared future. Xi made the remarks when meeting with visiting Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Xi said the leadership of the communist parties and socialist systems of the two countries define their political nature. He called on the two countries to work “hand in hand and side by side” to maintain close high-level exchanges, enhance exchanges on governance, jointly improve the ability to govern and safeguard the common interests of both countries and the developing world. “China will continue to firmly support Lao efforts to safeguard its sovereignty and dignity,” said Xi. “Next year is the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Laos, and therefore the bilateral relationship will enter a critical stage.” Xi said China is willing to work with Laos to promote the building of a community with a shared future between the two countries, advance the alignment of development strategies, accelerate the construction of the China-Laos economic corridor, advance major cooperation projects in areas such as railways and economic parks, and strengthen people-to-people exchanges as well as coordination and collaboration in international and regional affairs, so as to lift bilateral ties to new heights. Thongloun conveyed to Xi the greetings of Lao President Bounnhang Vorachit, who is also general secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party Central Committee, and congratulated the People’s Republic of China on its achievements since its founding 70 years ago. Thongloun expressed the belief that under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with Comrade Xi at the core, the Chinese people will definitely achieve the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.