HÀ NỘI — President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee and President of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith on Monday emphasised the need to continue deepening the two sides’ political relations, and agreed to make 2022 the “Year of Friendship and Solidarity between Việt Nam – Laos, Laos – Việt Nam 2022”.
General Secretary and President Thongloun Sisoulith warmly welcomed President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on his official visit to Laos, which took place right after the success of each country’s Party’s Congress and the election of each country’s National Assembly deputies.
The General Secretary and President of Laos appreciated that Laos was the first country Phúc visited in his new position, which indicated the special importance of Laos in Việt Nam’s policies.
The two leaders affirmed that the Parties, States and peoples of the two countries have always given each other valuable support, assistance, and goodwill in the cause of national liberation and reunification. They said that the two countries will continue to give the highest priority to constantly consolidating and cultivating the great friendship and comprehensive cooperation between Việt Nam and Laos.
The two leaders also expressed their delight at the development of the cooperative relationship in recent years. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides have made efforts to maintain delegation exchanges and high-level contacts; effectively promote bilateral cooperation in the fields of politics, diplomacy, national defence, security, education-training, trade and investment.
Two-way trade turnover in the first half of this year reached US$670 million, increasing nearly 37 per cent over the same period last year. Việt Nam has 209 projects in Laos, with a total registered capital of about $5.2 billion, ranking third among countries investing directly in Laos.
In the 2020-2021 school year, Việt Nam welcomed 1,200 Laotian students to study, bringing the total number of Lao students studying in Việt Nam to nearly 16,100.
The two leaders spent time discussing measures to support each other in difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; at the same time, they agreed to jointly promote cooperation in all fields, from politics, diplomacy, defence and security, education, trade, investment, energy, culture, to science and technology.
The two sides emphasised the need to deepen political relations and enhance close cooperation on strategic issues related to security and development of each country; maintaining high-level visits between leaders of the two parties and countries in various forms; actively exchange information and share experiences on Party building, political systems, socio-economic development, macroeconomic stability and expansion of international integration.
The two leaders also agreed to share information and enhance coordination at international and regional forums; continue to promote the central role of ASEAN and the mechanisms led by ASEAN; strengthen coordination with Cambodia to implement the agreement between the three Prime Ministers on the Cambodia – Laos – Vietnam Triangle Area Development and implement the Master Plan on connecting the three economies of Cambodia – Laos – Việt Nam by 2030.
They talked about the need to closely coordinate in the Mekong sub-regional cooperation mechanisms. The two sides agreed to continue strengthening cooperation with each other and with relevant countries and international organisations for sustainable and effective management and use of the Mekong River’s water resources.
The two sides also noted the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea (South China Sea); settling disputes by peaceful means, on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982); promoting the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and soon achieve an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).
On the same day, they witnessed the signing of a number of important agreements between ministries, branches and enterprises of the two countries in the fields of defence, security, drug prevention, search and rescue, electricity trading, and mineral processing and exploitation.
These included a cooperation agreement between the two Presidential Offices for the 2021-2025 period; the 2022 cooperation programme between the two ministries of justice; a document on additional cooperation in 2020 between the two ministries of public security; a Memorandum of Understanding on drug prevention cooperation between the two ministries of public security; minutes of cooperation between the two defence ministries on the construction of the Military Ethnic Culture School in Laos; and some other documents.
The business agreements include a cooperation contract in mining and processing gold, copper, nickel, silver and iron ore in Borikham District, Bolikhamsai Province, between Việt Nam’s CAVICO Co., Ltd and the Lao Ministry of Planning and Investment; a Memorandum of Understanding on prospecting tin in Namsang Village, Bolikhamsai Province, between Việt Nam Minerals Joint Stock Company and the Lao Ministry of Planning and Investment; a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in research and purchase of electricity from Nậm U Hydropower Plant cluster and Nậm Ngừm 4 Hydropower Plant between Việt Nam Electricity and Laos National Electricity Company.
They also witnessed the signing of some MOUs of other electricity purchase deals and on feasibility research for hydropower plant projects. VNS