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Lao PM arrives in Vietnam: New impetus for great friendship
Minh Nguyen 12:06, 2024/01/06
Vietnam and Laos are believed to be discussing ways to boost economic ties to be in line with the relationship which is called “brotherhood.”

Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh welcomed his Lao counterpart Sonexay Siphandone in Hanoi today [January 6], creating new dynamics for the special relationship between Vietnam and Lao in 2024 and beyond. 

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh welcomes Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone in Hanoi on Jan 6. Photo: VNA 

Sonexay Siphandone and his spouse came to Hanoi for the two-day visit, being the first guest of Vietnam in 2024 and his first visit to Vietnam at the post of prime minister. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Lao PM Sonexay Siphandone have met each other six times since January 2023.  

The visit will allow the two governments to review cooperation in 2023 and plan the next moves in 2024 while closely exchanging information on the situation in each country, Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos Nguyen Ba Hung told local media.

In 2023, three top leaders of Vietnam visited Laos, including official visits by State President Vo Van Thuong, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, and Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue. Of the visits, PM Chinh was the first guest of Laos after it had a new prime minister and Chinh's visit was the first to the neighboring country in his position.

In addition, the two countries exchanged high-ranking visits between central and local leaders to strengthen the traditional relationship.

 Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone lays a wreath at Martyrs' Memorial in Hanoi on Jan 6. Photo: VNA 

Meanwhile, Lao Ambassador to Vietnam Khamphao Ernthavanh highlighted the economic ties as one of the pillars of the relationship which she described as a “great friendship.”

She said the two government leaders will co-chair the 46th Inter-governmental Committee on Bilateral Cooperation and attend an Investment Conference to boost economic ties and tap the potential of the neighboring countries.

The two sides will also discuss promoting the implementation of the agreement on Bilateral Cooperation for 2021-2025 and the Vietnam-Lao Cooperation Strategy for 2021-2030 with priorities given to a wide range of fields related to politics and foreign affairs, defense and security, trade and investment, education and human resources training, science and technology, and culture.

They will seek ways to speed up key projects while discussing better collaboration on international agendas.

 A hospital in Lao funded by Vietnam. Photo: VNA

Economic ties

Lao Minister of Planning and Investment Khamjane Vongphosy said the Vietnam-Lao relations are at the highest level ever r, as evidenced by the fruitful results gained in 2023.

In terms of investment, Vietnam remains the third largest investor in Laos with a registered capital of US$5.47 billion in 241 projects, focusing on telecommunications, banking, rubber planting and processing, food processing, agriculture, energy, and mining. As of the end of November 2023, the bilateral trade turnover reached $1.5 billion.

According to Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos, Nguyen Ba Hung, the highlights of economic ties are infrastructure and the growing use of the Vietnamese dong (VND) and Lao kip (LAK) while removing barriers to Vietnam’s investment in Laos.

He said many key Vietnam-funded projects in Laos were commissioned in 2023 including the Nongkhang Airport in Houaphanh, the Lao-Viet Friendship Hospital in Xiengkhouang, the upgrading of the Xaysomboun Hospital, and many constructions built with financial support from Vietnam. At the same time, a new investment flow into Laos from Vietnam has begun with the presence of leading groups namely VietJetAir, Vingroup, Viet Phuong, and Xuan Thien with big projects.

Meanwhile, Lao Minister of Technology and Communications Boviengkham Vongdara stressed the importance of Vietnam’s support in technology and digital transformation for the Lao economy. He said that this is a field of national security that few countries share except Vietnam and Laos. Accordingly, Laos became the first country to sign an Agreement on Digital Cooperation with Vietnam and Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications has helped Laos develop technological infrastructure, build a cyber security center, provide online education for remote areas, and improve manpower in the sector.

To help Laos prepare for the ASEAN Presidency in 2024, Vietnam has extended its support in different fields including financial assistance, experience sharing, and co-hosting the event, according to both Vietnamese and Lao officials.

During his visit to Laos in April 2023, Vietnamese State President Vo Van Thuong also announced a donation of $1 million for Lao preparations for the ASEAN chairmanship.

Ahead of Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone’s visit to Vietnam, Lao newspapers highlighted the two countries’ cooperation achievements, believing the relationship would be strengthened in all fields. They said friendship is priceless assets for the next generations of both countries. 

 PhathetLao highlights Vietnam-Laos relations. Photo: VNA
TAG: Vietnam news vietnam laos relations lao prime minister visit vietnam
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