Talks were held between President Phuc and President Sisoulith following the welcome ceremony put on for the Vietnamese State leader upon his arrival in Laos.
During the course of talks, the two leaders informed each other about the ongoing situation regarding each party and nation. They went on to discuss a range of measures aimed at continuing to develop the great friendship, special solidarity and, comprehensive co-operation between both sides in an effective and pragmatic manner.
They also compared notes regarding regional and international issues of mutual concern.
The two leaders affirmed that the two Parties, States, and peoples have always provided each other with valuable support, assistance, and goodwill during past struggles for national liberation and reunification, as well as in the current process of national protection and development.
They therefore emphasised the necessity of continuing to offer top priority to constantly consolidating and cultivating the great friendship, special solidarity, and all-around cooperation between the nation and Laos. Indeed, this is considered important to development, along with being one of the decisive factors that ensured the victory of the revolutionary cause of each country.
The two leaders also expressed their delight at the strong development of co-operative relations between the two nations over recent years.
Despite being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, both sides redoubled efforts to maintain delegation exchanges and high-level meetings, whilst effectively promoting bilateral co-operation mechanisms. This is particularly notable in the fields of politics, diplomacy, defence, security, education-training, trade, and investment, all of which have seen greater development.
The opening six months of the year saw total trade between the two hit approximately US$670 million, up nearly 37% over the same period from last year.
The nation now has 209 valid investment projects worth roughly US$5.2 billion in Laos, thereby ranking third among foreign investors in the neighbouring country.
During the 2020 to 2021 school year, the Vietnamese side welcomed 1,200 Lao students, thereby bringing the total number of overseas students studying in the country to nearly 16,100.
The pair also discussed a range of measures aimed at offering mutual support in dealing with difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic for each country and for the joint co-operation relationship.
They therefore agreed to jointly augment co-operation across multiple areas, from politics, diplomacy, defence, and security, to education, economics, trade, investment, energy, culture, science, and technology. This is part of efforts to overcome challenges together whilst capitalising on opportunities brought about by Industry 4.0.
The two leaders therefore consented to continue to implement high-level agreements and the results achieved during the 43rd session of the Vietnam - Laos Intergovernmental Committee.
They stand in agreement regarding Vietnam-Laos bilateral co-operation for the 2021 to 2025 period and the strategic co-operation agreement for the 2021 to 2030 period. This is along with the results obtained during the official friendship visit to Vietnam of President Sisoulith and the ongoing official friendship visit to Laos by President Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The two sides underlined the necessity of continuing to deepen political relations and strive for closer co-operation on strategic issues relating to the security and development of each country. In addition, they hope to maintain high-level exchange visits between leaders in various forms, actively exchange information and share experience relating to Party building, political system, socio-economic development, macroeconomic stability, and the expansion of international integration.
They pledged to promote propaganda and education on the tradition of the special relationship, especially between cadres, party members, and people of all walks of life from the two countries, with a specific focus on the young generations.
Both sides therefore agreed to consider 2020 as the Year of Vietnam-Laos, Laos-Vietnam Friendship and Solidarity to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 45th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation between the two countries.
The two leaders affirmed their resolve to continue bolstering co-operation in defence and security in order to effectively deal with both traditional and non-traditional security challenges.
Moving forward, this should be done by boosting co-operation in developing high-quality human resources, as well as in training key officials and managers at all levels, along with properly carrying out a project on educational co-operation between Vietnam and Laos for the 2021 to 2030 period.
The two leaders share the same viewpoint about ramping up co-operation in economics, trade, investment, and energy, whilst regularly paying attention to definitively solving difficulties and problems facing local enterprises.
It therefore remains essential to make good use of free trade agreements (FTAs) such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), or major agreements that the nation has joined, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). Indeed, these FTAs can help to expand export markets and attract investment flows from outside, they stressed.
The two leaders also agreed on timely information sharing and close co-ordination at international and regional forums in order to promote the central role of ASEAN and ASEAN-led mechanisms.
They used the occasion to consent to enhancing co-ordination with Cambodia to implement the agreement between the three Prime Ministers on the Cambodia - Laos - Vietnam Development Triangle area. In addition, they will also seek to implement the Master Plan to connect the three economies of Cambodia - Laos - Vietnam by 2030.
There was also an agreement struck to continue strengthening mutual co-operation and with other relevant countries and international organisations for the sustainable and effective management and use of water resources in the Mekong river.
They underlined the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea, settling disputes by peaceful means, on the basis of respect for international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).
Moreover, both sides will work together with relevant parties to promote the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) towards achieving an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in line with international law as soon as possible.
After the talks, President Phuc and President Sisoulith witnessed the signing and exchange of 14 co-operation documents between various ministries, agencies, and enterprises in the fields of defence, security, drug control, search and rescue, electricity trading, mineral exploration, exploitation, and processing.
As part of the occasion, the Party, State, and people of Vietnam donated a vocational training school in Khammuane province as a gift worth US$5 million to their Lao counterparts.