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Laos, S. Korea to strengthen close ties

President Bounnhang Vorachit and his counterpart President of the  Republic of Korea (ROK) Moon Jae-in met for important talks in Vientiane on Thursday, when they reaffirmed their strong commitment to enhancing the two countries’ relations and expanding cooperation. 
The meeting of the top Lao and South Korean leaders took place at the Presidential Palace, following an official welcome ceremony. A large number of Lao and South Korean senior government officials attended the events.

According to a media release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the main topic of discussion between the two leaders included ways for their countries to enhance bilateral cooperation in the fields of politics, diplomacy, trade and investment, agriculture, energy, and infrastructure development.
They also considered ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in innovation, tourism, health, labour and rural area development.
President Bounnhang and President Moon also exchanged views on regional and international cooperation, especially within the Asean-ROK and Mekong-ROK cooperation frameworks.
The two leaders also informed each other about developments in their respective countries. They acknowledged that the ROK spent 50-60 years transforming the nation into a modern and prosperous state while Laos is intensifying efforts to free itself from Least Developed Country status.
President Bounnhang warmly welcomed and said he highly valued the state visit by the South Korean president and his delegation to Laos, adding that it was a significant contribution to the flourishing relationship and cooperation between their two countries.
He thanked the South Korean government for its humanitarian aid and support to Laos in the wake of the flood that occurred in Attapeu province last year.
In response, President Moon expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome and hospitality shown by the Lao government to himself and his delegation. He pledged to enhance relations and cooperation between the two nations to benefit the peoples of both countries.
Following the meeting, the two presidents witnessed the signing of four cooperation documents in the fields of ICT, industry-trade, agriculture, and economic development.
President Moon also met Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith at the Prime Minister’s Office. The two leaders agreed to increase reciprocal visits by top leaders and members of the public. President Moon also laid a wreath at the Unknown Soldier Monument and joined President Bounhang in planting trees at Chao Anouvong Park as another symbol of Lao-Korean friendship.
President Moon Jae-in and his delegation arrived in Vientiane on Thursday, becoming the first South Korean president to visit Laos. He is scheduled to end his state visit to Laos on Friday.
Laos and the ROK established diplomatic relations in 1995 and plan to celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2020.
ROK is ranked as the fifth largest foreign investor in Laos with an accumulated investment value of US$750 million. In 2018, bilateral trade between the ROK and Laos was valued at US$114 million. Laos’ imports from the ROK were valued at US$84 million, mainly comprising vehicles, trucks, automotive parts, construction equipment, electronics and consumer products.

By Ekaphone Phouthonesy
(Latest Update September 6, 2019)

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