|Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith at the 41st session of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-Governmental Committee in Hanoi (Photo: VNA).
Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith is on a visit to Vietnam for the 42nd meeting of the Vietnam – Laos Inter-Governmental Committee from January 2-4 at the invitation of his counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The meeting also aims to consolidate political trust between the two countries and create a channel for directing the implementation of high-level agreements.
Both nations have enjoyed a long-standing special solidarity and faithful relationship nurtured by late Presidents Ho Chi Minh, Kaysone Phomvihane and Souphanouvong, and generations of the two countries’ leaders and people.
Over the past years, the two countries have been incessantly strengthening and developing the great friendship, special solidarity and all-around cooperation between the two Parties, States and peoples, considering these as contributory factors to the success of each country’s national development and defence.
They have continued to further foster bilateral political and diplomatic ties, as demonstrated by regular mutual visits at all levels. By the end of August, more than 120 delegation exchanges were conducted, including 60 at the deputy ministerial or higher levels. Both sides successfully held the 41st meeting of the inter-governmental committee co-hosted by the two prime ministers.
Cooperation in defence, security and diplomacy has progressed with the implementation of the five-year cooperation protocol and annual defence – security cooperation plans, which has helped ensure political stability, security and social order and safety in each nation. They have also effectively realized the agreement on border regulations and the one on settling irregular migration and undocumented marriage in their border areas.
Vietnam and Laos have also boosted closer coordination and offered mutual support at regional and international forums. They have stepped up cooperation with each other and other ASEAN member states in building the ASEAN Community and maintaining the regional bloc’s solidarity and consensus in the regional strategic issues, including the East Sea issue.
Laos has voiced its strong support for Vietnam’s bid for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council and assumption of the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020.
The two countries have worked hand in hand with other nations and relevant international organizations to manage and use the Mekong River’s water resources in a sustainable and effective way.
They have seen fruitful cooperation in economics, culture, education-training and science-technology over the past years. Despite global economic downturn, the two nations’ bilateral trade turnover hit US$940 million during January-October of 2019, and the figure is poised to reach US$1.1 – 1.2 billion for the whole year, exceeding the set target of US$1 billion.
Vietnam remains the third largest foreign investor in Laos, with US$4.22 billion invested in 413 projects on hydropower, mining, services, agriculture and telecom.
In addition, Vietnam provides around VND3.25 trillion (US$140 million) in non-refundable aid for Laos each year during the 2016-2020 period.