Vientiane Times

Vietnam leader’s visit to Laos takes special ties to new heights

The two-day goodwill visit to Laos by the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong, is a milestone in the cementing of the countries’ special ties.
President Nguyen Phu Trong led high-ranking officials from the Party and state of Vietnam on a visit to Laos from February 24-25, at the invitation of the Secretary General of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and state, President Bounnhang Vorachit.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong (left), waves to the guard of honour on his arrival at Wattay International Airport on Sunday.    --Photo Khamphan

The visit by Vietnam’s top leader is a highly significant contribution to the friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries. It was also the Vietnamese president’s first visit to a foreign country since taking office.
During a bilateral meeting in Vientiane, President Trong invited President Bounnhang and his wife to visit Vietnam at a convenient time, which he accepted with pleasure.
The highlight of President Trong’s visit was the signing of nine agreements. These relate to financial cooperation, construction of the Vientiane-Vung Ang railway, and electricity and mines development, while other agreements relevant to cooperation between the two countries were also signed.
The Lao and Vietnamese leaders agreed to continue to strengthen their political collaboration and maintain high-level meetings and interest in localities, especially those along their shared border. The overarching goal is to foster effective cooperation in economics, culture, education, public health, science and technology, defence and security, and to prevent illegal border trade. The two sides also agreed to continue to resolve issues around illegal marriage and resettlement along their shared border.
With regard to human resource development, the two parties and states agreed to improve cooperation in many respects. There are currently more than 14,000 Lao nationals studying in Vietnam, of whom over 4,000 are financed by government scholarships.
In the area of investment, Vietnam has invested US$4.1 billion in 409 projects and ranks third among all foreign countries investing in Laos. In 2018, the trade value between the two countries reached US$1 billion, an increase of 13 percent over the same period in 2017.
During the two-day visit, many activities took place with the aim of fostering the friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation that were initiated by Lao Presidents Kaysone Phomvihane and Souphanouvong, and Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh.
Successive generations of leaders and the peoples of the two nations have built on this partnership and look forward to an even higher level of solidarity.
Memories from the past are the best lesson in helping the younger generation to understand and continue to build stronger friendship and cooperation between the peoples of the brotherly countries of Laos and Vietnam.
To perpetuate memories of past achievements and inspire future cooperation, the Lao and Vietnamese governments highly value their traditional friendly relations, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation, which has resulted in successes in many fields.
In the media sector, Laos’ Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications last year signed agreements on cooperation in the development of the information sector from 2016-2020.
The agreements relate to newspapers and other printed products, sharing of radio and television programmes and technical matters, and training.
This year, the two nations will mark the 42nd anniversary of the signing of the Laos-Vietnam Friendship and Cooperation Treaty (July 18, 1977 - July 18, 2019) and the 57th anniversary of diplomatic relations (September 5, 1962 - September 5, 2019).
The two countries will enhance their tradition of solidarity and cooperation and further collaborate in the regional arena. President Trong thanked Laos for supporting Vietnam’s bid to run for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure and assuming the chairmanship of Asean next year.   

By Sisay Vilaysack
(Latest Update February 27, 2019)

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