Seventeen cooperation agreements signed at 43rd Vietnam-Lao Inter-governmental Committee session
The two Prime Ministers witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements between the two countries. (Photo: VGP)

Upon addressing the meeting, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc emphasized that despite complicated and unpredictable developments in the region and the world, especially the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam and Laos have maintained high-level meetings and exchange visits as well as important bilateral cooperation mechanisms and mutual support in pandemic prevention and control, which signified the combined efforts and determination in fostering their special bilateral ties in the time to come.

He congratulated the Lao Government on the tremendous achievements in socio-economic development over the years, especially in effectively containing COVID-19 and maintaining relatively high growth as well as successfully hosting sub-regional cooperation events as a contribution to raising the country’s position in the region.

The Vietnamese Government chief thanked the Lao side for coordinating closely with Vietnam in controlling the pandemic, helping flood-hit people in the central region, and supporting the country in undertaking the roles of ASEAN Chair in 2020 and non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure.

In response, Lao PM Thongloun Sisoulith hailed Vietnam’s success in carrying out the dual goals of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and spurring socio-economic development, thus emerging as a bright spot in the global economy.

He congratulated Vietnam on successfully taking on the role of ASEAN Chair in 2020 with a range of important initiatives to reinforce regional solidarity and cooperation. He highlighted the approval of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which affirmed the important role and position of Vietnam in the world arena.

The Lao PM thanked the Party, State and people of Vietnam for helping his nation overcome the consequences of natural disasters and the pandemic by providing Laos with 1,000 tonnes of rice to the flood-hit Savannakhet province.

The two PMs showed their elation at the fruitful cooperation between the two countries, with the fulfillment of many targets set in the Vietnam-Laos cooperation plan for 2020 and the Vietnam-Laos bilateral cooperation agreement for the 2016-2020 period.

Bilateral political-diplomatic relations have been enhanced, playing the central and directing role in the overall partnership of the two sides, while the defence-security cooperation has continued to be the key pillar, contributing to maintaining the political stability, order and social security in each nation, the pair said.

With regard to economic collaboration, Vietnam has maintained the position of the third largest investor in Laos with accumulated registered investment capital of more than US$4.2 billion, up 35% over the level recorded in 2010. In 2020, Vietnam poured more than US$143 million in Laos, a year-on-year increase of 130%.

Two-way trade during the 2017-2019 period grew by over 10% each year. Meanwhile, education-training collaboration has continued to be stepped up, with 16,644 Lao students studying in Vietnam.

Elsewhere, power trading between the two sides in 2020 has doubled compared to the plan signed in 2016.

Cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchange has been strengthened, with both sides working together to organize a host of major events and celebrations of each other’s anniversaries, they said, adding that many bilateral cooperation projects have seen key progress in 2020, including the Vung Ang port, Noong-khang airport, and the National Assembly building of Laos – a gift from the Party, State and people of Vietnam to Laos, which is slated to complete in 2021. 

The two government leaders agreed on the cooperation orientations for 2021 and the next five and 10 years, with a focus on the effective implementation of agreements between the two sides, including the Vietnam-Laos cooperation plan for 2021 and the cooperation deals signed on this occasion.

They worked out a score of drastic and practical measures to continue deepening the bilateral political and diplomatic ties, augmenting bilateral defence-security cooperation and prioritizing education-training collaboration.

Both sides will work to beef up economic cooperation and improve the connectivity between the two economies, especially linkages in transport, infrastructure and telecommunications. They will incentivize ministries, sectors localities, businesses and people of both sides to expand cooperation and mutual support.

They will work hand in hand to mobilise resources from international partners for joint projects and programmes.

The two sides vowed to continue their closer coordination with mutual support at regional and international forums, especially within the ASEAN, the Mekong Sub-region cooperation mechanisms and the United Nations.

The two nations consented to boost mutual consultations and assistance to enhance their position and national self-reliance, especially in issues related to security and strategy in the region, including the East Sea and Mekong issues. They pledged to work with other ASEAN countries to effectively cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthen intra-bloc solidarity and the central role of the ASEAN as well as the building of ASEAN Community.

The two PMs also pledged to direct ministries, sectors, localities and relevant agencies of the two sides to work together to effectively carry out bilateral agreements and commitments, including the creation of optimal conditions for businesses of both sides to cooperate in investment and production.

Both sides showed their confidence that the success of the meeting will create new momentum for bilateral cooperation, making it deeper and more practical with higher trust as a contribution to promoting the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos in the next decades.

Concluding the meeting, PM Phuc and his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith witnessed the signing of 17 cooperation agreements and memoranda of understanding, including a 2021 Vietnam-Laos cooperation plan agreement, a protocol on implementation of the agreement on investment cooperation for port development No. 1,2,3 of Vung Ang port, a Memorandum of Understanding between the two ministries of transport on research and development of railway between Vietnam and Laos, and some agreements regarding education and energy between the two countries./.


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