LUANG PRABANG, LAOS - APRIL 09: The China-Laos Railway passes by a China Railway cargo shipment on April 09, 2024 in Luang Prabang, Laos. The China-Laos railway, a key project of China's Belt and Road Initiative, is a high-speed railway connecting Kunming, the capital of China's Yunnan province, to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. This railway is the biggest public infrastructure project ever undertaken by Laos, with a total length of 1,035 kilometers and a cost of US$5.9 billion, which is equivalent to around one-third of Laos' gross domestic product in 2019. The railway is dedicated to both passenger and freight traffic services, creating a new link between Laos and China, the former's neighbor and closest partner. The Laos section of the railway is part of a vision to build a Pan-Asia railway that will ultimately connect China, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, improving the efficiency of goods movement for export-driven economies along the route, opening up travel and extending China's influence deep into Southeast Asia. (Photo by Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images)

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