VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Visiting Vice President Pany Yathotou concluded her visit to Vietnam with fruitful results in welcoming Vietnamese leaders to strengthen the centuries-old relationship and cooperation between the two countries.
The three-day official visit from April 25 to 27 was made at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart, Vo Thi Anh Xuan.
The visit came as the two neighbors celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 45th anniversary of the Laos-Vietnam Friendship and Cooperation Treaty.
Pany spoke with Vo Thi Anh Xuan and called on General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong, President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and National Assembly Speaker Vuong Dinh Hue to discuss further. of cooperation.
The leaders of the two sides were delighted to witness the new developments in the friendly relations, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.
They agreed to work together to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of cooperation in the fields of defense and security, transport, education and training, cultural and sports exchanges and cooperation between localities, according to Vietnam News.
The leaders affirmed their determination to raise the level of economic cooperation to the height of the privileged relations between the two countries.
In this regard, they agreed to continue to strive to resolve the difficulties and obstacles faced by businesses on both sides, to expand the connectivity of “hard infrastructure” in transport, energy, telecommunications as well as “soft infrastructure” for digital economic linkages, and to promote cross-border trade.
In the first three months of 2022, bilateral trade reached $403.6 million, up 19.22 percent from the same period in 2021, Vietnam News reported.
Vietnamese companies have currently invested in 214 valid projects in Laos, totaling around US$5.33 billion, making Vietnam a leading foreign investor in Laos.
The governments of Laos and Vietnam have set a target to increase the value of annual bilateral trade by 10-15% in 2022 after the trade value reached $1.34 billion in 2021, an increase of 30 .2% compared to the previous year. .
During the talks, Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc said economic, trade and investment cooperation should become a key pillar of Laos-Vietnam relations, the Hanoi Times reported.
As Laos and Vietnam strive to carry out the cooperation projects agreed upon by the leaders of the two countries, President Phuc called on the two sides to find new directions and new financial sources to finance these projects, especially those related to strategic infrastructure to strengthen economic ties.
“Laos should take advantage of Vietnam’s seaport networks and the 17 free trade agreements the country is a party to, including RCEP of which both countries are members, to expand export markets,” the president said. Phuc, quoted by the Hanoi Times.
Mega infrastructure projects planned
The leaders of the two countries have agreed to jointly develop and operate several infrastructure mega-projects, including Vung Ang port in Vietnam’s central Ha Tinh province.
Vietnam agreed to increase Laos’ share of the port from 20 to 60 percent to allow Laos access to a deep-water port.
A railway to connect the seaport to the capital of Laos, Vientiane, is planned to facilitate transportation and reduce associated costs.
Recently, Lao and Vietnamese investors signed a memorandum of understanding on the joint development of the first section of the railway linking the port to Thakhaek district in Khammuan province.
The two sides also plan to build a highway linking Vientiane with the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi.
During their talks, Pany and Vo Thi Anh Xuan agreed to continue addressing the issue of naturalization for free immigrants, according to Vietnam News.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the leaders noted that the two sides have maintained regular delegation exchanges and high-level contacts, effectively promoted important bilateral cooperation mechanisms, and implemented cooperation agreements and plans. in all important areas.
The two vice presidents agreed to continue to promote the tradition of close coordination and mutual support in multilateral forums, especially the United Nations, ASEAN and Mekong sub-regional cooperation mechanisms.
On this occasion, Vice President Pany invited Vice President Vo Thị Anh Xuan to pay an official visit to Laos at the appropriate time and the Vietnamese Vice President accepted the invitation with pleasure.