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Jan 11, 2023 / 23:04

Vietnam PM makes first visit to Laos

The two countries are determined to boost economic ties by expanding investment, mostly in border localities.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh is on his two-day visit to Laos in response to the invitation of his Lao counterpart Sonexay Siphandone, his first trip to the neighboring country since taking office in April 2021.

 Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Lao's PM Sonexay Siphandone in Vientiane on Jan 11. Photo: VGP

The Vietnamese PM is the first guest of Sonexay Siphandone after his appointment as Prime Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic a few days ago. 

PM Chinh met Lao top leaders and participate in the 45th meeting of the Laos-Vietnam Inter-Governmental Committee on Bilateral Cooperation on Jan 11-12.

Chinh’s visit aims to enhance the “great friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation between Laos and Vietnam” as reported by Lao media.

On January 11, PM Chinh made a courtesy call to General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith in Vientiane.

During the trip, the Vietnamese PM made visits to a number of former Lao leaders and chairman of the Laos-Vietnam Friendship Association.

On this occasion, the two sides wrapped up the Vietnam-Laos, Laos-Vietnam Solidarity and Friendship Year 2022 in both countries. They shared delight at the results and the successful friendship year with hundreds of joint activities.

They agreed to continue expanding investment, with a focus on projects in border localities while enhancing cooperation in justice, science-technology, culture, tourism, people-to-people links, and cooperation among localities, especially those along the common border. 

 The two PMs attend the signing of an agreement on digital partnership. 

Economic cooperation put the first in comprehensive relations

Apart from maintaining political ties with the exchange of visits at all levels for enhancing political trust, economics continues to be a key pillar in the relationship between Vietnam and Laos, with an aim to boost the economic ties to be commensurate with the comprehensive relations.

To make the goal possible, they vow to focus on supporting each other in the post-pandemic recovery process to build self-reliant and resilient economies coupled with strong international integration.

They agreed to connect the economies in both infrastructure and technology by promoting projects on road, railway, aviation, telecommunications, energy, financial services, banking, among others.

In terms of investment, Vietnam has so far invested in 238 projects worth US$5.34 billion, making Laos the biggest market for Vietnamese investors. The main sectors include finance-banking, telecommunications, services, agriculture-forestry, energy, IT, and tourism, largely contributing to the socio-economic development in Laos.

In 2022, two-way trade rose 21% to nearly $1.7 billion, exceeding the set target.

Education is listed among the main fields of cooperation with the implementation of projects on training and developing human resources for the 2021-2030 period and recently the signing of agreements between the foreign ministries.

In this regard, the two sides with the attendance of the two PMs inked 10 cooperation agreements in various fields, including health, digital partnership, mutual civil judicial support, education, waterway transport, finance, and diplomacy.

Vietnam’s central Quang Tri province and Champasak province of Laos also signed a framework agreement on friendly cooperation ties.