The 39th meeting of the Vietnam – Laos Intergovernmental Committee in Hanoi on February 8, will reaffirm the two countries’ foreign policy priorities in developing bilateral friendship and comprehensive cooperation.
Illustrative image (Source: Internet)
Lao Prime Minister Thoonglun Sisoulith led a delegation to Vietnam to attend the event, which also aims to increase political trust and direct the implementation of high-level agreements to boost Vietnam – Laos ties.
The meeting, which will be co-chaired by Thoonglun Sisoulith and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, will scrutinize the implementation of high-raking agreements and how to promote cooperation between the two countries.
Vietnam-Laos relations have been strengthened with regular delegation exchanges and meetings at all levels. Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong made an official visit to Laos in November, 2016.
The implementation of the agreement on the Vietnam-Laos Cooperation Plan in 2016 signed between the two governments reached set targets, while political ties have been boosted.
Vietnam supported Laos in undertaking the chairmanship of ASEAN and holding the ASEAN Summit last year.
The two sides coordinated in ensuring security and defence, building a shared-border and in fighting against enemy forces and transnational crime.
Trade and investment links between the two countries also saw progress.
Vietnamese enterprises have registered to invest 5.1 billion USD in Laos, ranking third among foreign investors in the country. Vietnam’s investment projects have proven effective, contributing to the two nations’ socio-economic development and helping Laos tackle poverty.
Two-way trade between the two countries in 2016 hit 801 million USD.
Trade promotion activities were intensified through trade fairs and conferences. The two sides also implemented trade agreements, making it easier for the two countries’ enterprises to boost trade links.
Additionally, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in transport in 2015-2025 with a vision to 2030, focusing on completing a study for a project to build a Hanoi-Vientiane highway, and accelerating the implementation of transport projects within bilateral cooperation and in the Mekong sub-region.
About 100,200 Lao tourists visited Vietnam in the first nine months of 2016, while the number of Vietnamese visitors to Laos reached 760,500 in the period, up 20 percent year-on-year.
Cooperation in health, especially between the two countries’ border localities, recorded effective links. Vietnam began construction of two hospitals in Houaphan and Xiangkhouang provinces worth about 20 million USD and 17.6 million USD, respectively.
Education and training affiliation between Vietnam and Laos has been also expanded. At present, more than 14,000 Lao students study in Vietnam.
Through the exchange of visits and meeting, cooperation between ministries, sectors and localities of the two countries has been promoted. The two sides also paid attention to links in sci-technology, natural resources and environment, agriculture, telecommunications, labour, culture, museums and tourism.
Vietnam helped Laos develop agricultural and broadcasting projects in Xiangkhouang and Udomsay through providing official development assistance.
The two nations closely cooperated at regional and international forums and coordinated with other ASEAN member nations in building the ASEAN Community.
This year, the two sides will celebrate 40 years since the signing of the Vietnam – Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (July 18, 1997 – 2017) and the 55th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties (September 5, 1962 – 2017).