Laos, Singapore to further enhance cooperation
Laos and Singapore will further enhance their relations and continue cooperation in the development of various fields.
This was the main theme of a meeting yesterday between President Bounnhang Vorachit and the President of the Republic of Singapore, Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, when they held talks at the Presidential Palace.
President Bounnhang Vorachit and his counterpart Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam ( right ) inspect a guard of honour in Vientiane yesterday. --Photo Khamphane
Dr Tan and his delegation arrived in Vientiane on Wednesday and are in Laos on an official state visit until Saturday, according a statement from the President's Office.
The visit by Dr Tan and his delegation is in response to an invitation from President Bounnhang, aiming to further boost the relationship and cooperation between Laos and Singapore.
During their talks, Mr Bounnhang and Dr Tan exchanged views and discussed possible areas of future cooperation.
The two presidents said they highly valued their cooperation since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1974 and discussed ways to promote future collaboration.
Dr Tan praised Laos' success in hosting the Asean Summits last year.
Mr Bounnhang said he highly valued Singapore's contribution within the Asean framework and thanked Singapore for its generous support to Laos during the summits.
Regarding cooperation, Singapore's SilkAir signed an agreement with Lao Airlines to start flights between Vientiane and Luang Prabang in October last year.
Singapore has also supported human resource development by providing scholarships for short- and long-term courses for Lao students to pursue their studies in Singapore and in Laos.
Since 2008 the government of Singapore has sent 1,500 volunteers to Laos to teach English, IT and environmental studies. Some of the volunteers are doctors who were assigned to work in hospitals.
There are currently 70 Singaporean-funded investment projects in Laos worth US$175 million. Of these, 33 projects are worth US$97 million and are 100 percent foreign owned. The remaining 37 projects are joint ventures, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
Based on the size of investments, Singapore ranks 11th out of 52 countries that have interests in Laos. Singapore has invested in 12 projects in the industry and handicrafts sector, 11 projects in the services sector, 11 projects in consulting, and 10 projects involving trade, the ministry said.
Dr Tan is also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.
He will also visit the University of Health Sciences, where the Singapore International Foundation and Singapore Health Services are helping Laos to upgrade its physiotherapy education programme.
A Lao translation of a book by Mr Lee Kuan Yew, titled From Third World to First – The Singapore Story: 1965-2000, will also be launched during the state visit.
In Vientiane, Dr Tan and his delegation will visit the That Luang stupa and attend a reception for the overseas Singaporean community.
In Luang Prabang, Dr Tan will meet provincial Governor Mr Khamkhan Chanthavisouk and visit the Royal Palace Museum before returning home.
By Phaisythong Chandara
(Latest Update January 13, 2017)