Saturday [January 8], Laos’ PM Phankham Viphavanh arrived in Hanoi, being the first guest of Vietnam in 2022 – the year that marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
|Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (L) receives Lao PM Phankham Viphavanh in Hanoi on Jan 8. Photos: VGP|
The visit begins a series of activities in the Friendship Year 2022 and shows top leaders’ determination to implement the Vietnam-Laos Joint Statement issued in June 2021, in which they vow to strengthen the great and special relations of the two countries.
This year also marks the 45th anniversary of the Vietnam-Lao Treaty for Amity and Cooperation and the implementation of the Cooperation Agreement for 2021-2030.
In the morning, the Lao PM was welcomed by his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chinh. The two leaders will co-chair the 44th Meeting of the Vietnam-Lao Joint Governmental Committee and launch the Friendship Year 2022.
Ambassadors of ASEAN member states also joined the welcome ceremony in Hanoi.
According to Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos Nguyen Ba Hung, the visit demonstrates Lao priority and support to the relations with Vietnam and proves the bond of brotherhood, which will be tightened.
This is the time for the two countries’ leaders to exchange views on international and regional issues and it consolidates the bilateral relations and creates a driving force for comprehensive cooperation in 2022.
The ambassador said history has proven the closed relations not because of the shared border of more than 2,300km or the close relationship between the two peoples since ancient times but it is the relationship based on trust, loyalty, and impartiality with respect to each other’s independence and sovereignty, and upholding a sense of equality and mutual benefit.
He said the relations would be strengthened with a focus on disseminating the importance of the special relations; on economic ties, and people-to-people links in which training manpower is prioritized.
PM Pham Minh Chinh and PM Phankham Viphavanh.
Ties cemented despite Covid-19
In 2021, there remained exchange visits of Vietnamese and Lao top leaders. The latest was paid by Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith on Dec 28-29. Saleumxay Kommasith came to Hanoi for the 8th ministerial-level political consultation that was co-chaired with his Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son.
On December 6-8, 2021, President of the Lao National Assembly Xaysomphone Phomvihane visited Vietnam. In August 2021, Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc took a trip to Vientiane. In June, General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith visited Hanoi. In September, Thongloun Sisoulith met Secretary General of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong at the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Leaders’ Summit.
In 2021, Vietnam extended its support to Laos by providing cash (nearly US$3 million) and medical equipment worth more than $2 million.
In turn, Lao agencies and businesses offered nearly $2 million to Vietnam in the pandemic fight.
The defense and security continue to be reinforced with more border patrols and management. The two countries have also intensified efforts in searching for Vietnamese experts and voluntary soldiers missing in action in Laos in wartime.
Notably, border localities have strengthened support in anti-pandemic missions and economic development.