A Laotian song featuring the Belt and Road Initiative has been viral online.
The initiative, proposed by China in 2013, is a transnational network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa, with the aim of promoting common development among the countries involved.
"When the song was broadcast in Laos last year, many Laotians thought it was a love song," writer Vilayphone Vongphachanh said. "The Belt and Road is pronounced as 'Yi Dai Yi Lu' in Chinese, but 'Yi Dai' and 'Yi Lu' sound like girls' nicknames in Laotian."
Vilayphone said that with the popularity of the song in Laos, more and more Laotians have known more about the term and its meaning.
Vilayphone, 52, has been working for the China Radio International for seven years. When he first heard of the Belt and Road Initiative, he thought about writing a jingle. Through his work, he knew plenty about the subject and when he finished the lyrics in 2016, he asked Laotian pop singer Athisack Lathdanavong, to record it.
Released on the Internet, it was quickly a minor hit. "So intense and inspiring," said a Laotian fan on Facebook.
On a trip to northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Vilayphone was awed by one of the origins of the Silk Road, an ancient trade route linking China with central and western Asia, Europe and Africa. In China's eastern port of Xiamen, he had a firsthand look at the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road that enables landlocked Laos to access a sea trade route.
"For me, the significance of the initiative goes far beyond the China-Laos railway that will connect our railway system with China's," Vilayphone said.
Lao Minister of Energy and Mines Khammany Inthirath noted Tuesday that the Belt and Road Initiative is a significant and indispensable way to expand and deepen cooperation between Laos and China in various fields such as investment, industrial production, trade, finance, culture, social integration, infrastructure, and others. China has invested in over 750 projects in Laos and is the biggest foreign investor there.
"Under the initiative, China and its partners are picking up speed in road building, trade and investment," Vilayphone said. "They also work hand in hand in building understanding between peoples."
Vilayphone said he has many friends in China, and a Laotian businessman sponsored him to record the song. "They are very pleased with a song about the Laos-China relationship, and are expecting more connections," he said.