Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith (Photo: VNA)

NDO – Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith is visiting Vietnam and co-chairing the 43rd session of the Vietnam – Laos Inter-Governmental Committee from December 4 – 6. This is made at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. It is a political event of important significance in developing the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos; increasing political trust; as well as creating a unified channel to direct and promote the implementation of the two countries’ high-level agreements.

We are happy to witness the great achievements that the Party, State and people of Laos have achieved during the country’s development. Laos is one of the countries with the highest economic growth rates in ASEAN and has maintained at around 7% per year in recent years, the exchange rate has been stable and the inflation rate has been low. The simple investment mechanism, along with the expansion of bank credit for agriculture and small enterprises, and the development of special economic zones have contributed to attracting foreign investors and developing the Lao economy. The political-security situation has basically been stable, social order and safety has been maintained. Lao PM Thongloun Sisoulith has announced the victory of the first phase against the COVID-19 epidemic. Although the number of the cases in Laos is small, the economy has been strongly impactedby the pandemic.

The Party and State of Laos have advocated the foreign policy of peace, friendship, cooperation and independence; multilateralization and diversification of relationships; ready to be friends and partners with countries; and strengthening cooperative relations with neighbouring countries and strategic partners. Currently, Laos has diplomatic relations with 140 countries and more than 130 political parties in the world, and trade relations with 60 countries and territories, is a member of many prestigious regional and world organisations.

The visit to Vietnam made by Lao PM Thongloun Sisoulith took place in the context of the positivedevelopment of relations between the two countries. Vietnam and Laos are close neighbours, with the two peoples sharing a time-honoured and faithful friendship. The bilateral great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation were founded by Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh and Lao Presidents Kaysone Phomvihane and Souphanouvong, and have been nurtured by generations of leaders and people of the two countries.The two peoples have constantly fought for independence, freedom, peace and social progress, and have always worked side by side in the fight for national liberation as well as in the cause of national construction and development in each country.

In 2020, despite having to postpone many foreign activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides still maintained high-level visits, meetings and cooperation mechanisms, notably with the successful organisation of the 42nd session of the Vietnam – Laos inter-governmental committee in Hanoi in January 2020. In the first six months of 2020, the two sides exchanged 27 delegations at all levels. The Lao Government and people appreciated that the Government and people of Vietnam, despite facing numerous difficulties, still actively shared and provided sincere support to Laos both in terms of materials and experience in COVID-19 prevention and control. The two sides coordinated to create conditions for people and goods to pass through the main border gates. However, due to the impact of the pandemic, the total two-way trade revenue as of October 2020 decreased by more than 12% compared to the same period in 2019, totalling US$815.5 million. To date, there are 413 projects of Vietnamese enterprises in Laos with a total registered capital of US$4.22 billion.

Defence and security cooperation continued to be one of the important pillars in the Vietnam-Laos relationship, contributing to maintaining political stability, security, and social order and safety in each country. Cooperation in education and training continued to be paid due attention. In 2020, Vietnam spent 1,000 scholarships for Lao cadres and students. Vietnamese provinces bordering Laos have proactively supported Lao localities with equipment and medical supplies for the COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control, and received Lao patients for emergency and treatment, which have been appreciated by the Government and people of Laos. The two sides have coordinated closely and supported each other at regional and international cooperation forums; maintained ASEAN solidarity and consensus on strategic issues in the region; and managed and used water resources in the Mekong River sustainably and effectively.

The 43rd session of the Vietnam – Laos Inter-Governmental Committee held in Hanoi this time aims to continue affirm the foreign priority of both countries which is constantly developing the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos, and enhancing political trust between the two countries. In the context of the current complicated world situation, the relationship between Vietnam and Laos has always been warm and sustainableand is growing increasingly strengthened and developed in all fields.

May the visit to Vietnam made by Lao PM Thongloun Sisoulith and the 43rd session of the Vietnam – Laos Inter-governmental Committee be a success, creating new impetus and contributing to nurturing the ever-green and ever-sustainable Vietnam-Laos special relations.


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