The promise of high-speed trains, smooth expressways, and mega hydropower is too good to turn down for a country like Laos. For the tiny landlocked Southeast Asian nation, with a population of about 7.5 million, it is an opportunity to shed the label of “one of the least developed countries in the world.”
Laos shares a 313-mile long border in the north with China. The geographic placement of the country ensured that it would not be ignored by Beijing and would inevitably feature in its grand geopolitical plans. The mineral-rich, underdeveloped country is the right fit for President Xi Jinping’s much-exalted Belt and Road Initiatives.