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Lao, Vietnamese PMs push for mega infrastructure projects

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc have called for the fulfilment of cooperation projects, notably mega infrastructure projects, during talks in Vietnam on Saturday.
The Lao prime minister made a short stop in Hanoi on his way back from the Future of Asia conference in Japan, Lao media reported.
The two prime ministers noted that the two governments, ministers and sectors are actively implementing cooperation projects that the leaders of both sides have agreed to.

In particular, both sides are pushing for the implementation of mega infrastructure projects including the Vung Ang seaport and the Vientiane-Hanoi expressway.
The governments of Laos and Vietnam have agreed to jointly develop the Vung Ang seaport in Vietnam’s central Ha Tinh province.
It was reported previously that Laos would hold a stake of up to 60 percent in the project, while Vietnam will hold the remaining 40 percent. The Lao government envisages that the seaport will be a key trade route for the landlocked nation. 
Meanwhile both countries are seeking funding for key projects such as the 707-km Hanoi-Vientiane expressway. It is estimated that the six-lane highway will cost more than US$4.5 billion to build.
Prime Minister Phuc said Vietnam has always done its best to increase cooperation with Laos and has helped Laos in its national development and protection tasks.
For his part, Mr Thongloun thanked Mr Phuc as well as the Vietnamese government and people for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation.
He said he highly valued the effort and progress made towards fulfilling cooperation projects between the two neighbours.
Mr Thongloun said the planned infrastructure projects were significant in boosting two-way trade and trade value between Laos and Vietnam.
The Lao and Vietnamese governments also plan to build a railway linking Vientiane to the Vung Ang seaport, which will be another important component of the trade route.
The two sides signed an agreement earlier this year pledging to work together to fuulfil the planned project, known as the Vientiane-Vung Ang railway.
The 555-km railway will cover 452km in Laos and 103km in Vietnam.
Each side pledged to seek financing to build the section of railway on its soil, according to the agreement on exploring potentials to realise the railway project.
In a Memorandum of Understanding on transport cooperation for 2016-2025 signed between the Vietnamese and Lao governments in September 2015, the two sides defined the Hanoi–Vientiane expressway and the Vientiane–Vung Ang railway as strategic projects that need to be carried out promptly to boost bilateral trade.

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update June 5, 2019)

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