Laos, Vietnam relations climb to new heights

Dr Sonexay Siphandone (right) greets his Vietnamese counterpart Trinh Dinh Dung at the National Convention Centre in Vientiane yesterday.

LAO PDR (Vientiane Times) -

Political relations between Laos and Vietnam have soared to new heights, while the two parties and governments have persistently encouraged bilateral and economic cooperation. Leaders from the parties and governments gave this assessment during their meetings in Vientiane this week. Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister, Trinh Dinh Dung is leading a delegation visiting Laos on June 24- 25 at the invitation of his Lao counterpart Dr Sonexay Siphandone to strengthen the fine tradition of excellent relations, special solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation between the two parties, governments and nations. “The bilateral cooperation ties in politics have climbed to new heights witnessed by the regular visits of each other’s high-ranking leaders from the two parties and governments,” a press release from the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.

The two sides highly valued the attention of the two parties and governments to encourage bilateral economic cooperation, especially the implementation of bilateral cooperation agreements following the memoranda of understanding signed by the two politburos, the minutes of the 41st of Laos-Vietnam Cooperation Committee, as well as its cooperation agreement for this year. After the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay and Deputy Prime Minister Dung witnessed the signing of a trade agreement on electric power for the Namxam 3 Power dam. Yesterday afternoon, Mr Dung met with Vice President of the Lao National Assembly, Mr Somphanh Phengkhammy, who is also guiding the construction project of the new Lao National Assembly compound. Before the visit of the Vietnamese deputy prime minister, a meeting of the Laos-Vietnam, Vietnam-Laos Cooperation Committee was held in Vientiane on Saturday.

The committee led by Lao Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Souphanh Keomixay, and his Vietnamese counterpart Mr Nguyen Chi Dung, discussed the results of cooperation. Dr Souphanh highly valued the bilateral cooperation, with many activities organised in 2018-2019 to strengthen the collaboration between the two countries, and between the two ministries. According to the meeting report, some 99 delegations at high and other levels have been exchanged between the two countries in the past six months to strengthen relations in politics and foreign affairs.

The two nations cooperated closely to protect the entire territory of the two countries, aiming to build a border based on peace and sustainable development. From 1989 up to the present, Vietnam has operated 413 projects in Laos valued at US$4.1 billion. Of the amount, US$3.9 billion were fully invested with Vietnamese capital in Laos operating in the sectors of agriculture, industry, handicrafts, mining, and services.

Vietnam is ranked third from 53 countries in terms of investment in Laos. One cooperative project, the construction of apartments for officials working for Dakta-ok crossing point in Dakcheung district, Xekong province was completed and handed over early this year, while another Laos, Vietnam relations climb to new heights seven projects expect to be completed this year. Construction of Nongkhang Airport in Huaphan province has progressed to 75 percent, and it is expected to finish late this year.

The development of Huaphan Friendship Hospital is 12 percent complete with the construction of buildings assessed at 60 percent finished. “The activities of Vietnamese enterprises were of sufficient quality, and contributed to the socioeconomic development of local Lao communities where the businesses are located, creating jobs and improving livelihoods,” it stated in the meeting report.

Trade volume between the two countries over the first five months of 2019 was US$492.5 million, a 13.2 percent increase compared to the same period last year, which was US$434.9 million. Exports from Laos to Vietnam were valued at US$199.6 million with the country’s imports from Vietnam valued at US$292.9 million. After the meeting, the two Ministries of Planning and Investment signed an agreement on bilateral cooperation for the 2019- 2021 period. Both Ministers Souphanh Keomixay and Nguyen Chi Dung agreed that the two ministries, as well as the joint cooperation committee, should maintain close coordination to help address difficulties in investment.