Vietnam, Laos determined to foster comprehensive cooperation hinh anh 1Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) meets his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith in August 2020 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnamese and Lao Governments are organising the 43rd session of their inter-governmental committee, affirming both countries’ diplomatic priority of unceasingly developing the bilateral relationship of great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation.

The event also aims at strengthening the political trust between the two countries; and creating a channel for directing the acceleration of the implementation of high-level agreements, and of the cooperative relations between the two countries in the time to come.

To co-chair the session, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith is visiting Vietnam from December 4 – 6 at an invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The Lao leader’s Vietnam visit takes place in the context of the bilateral great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation developing well. In 2020, although many activities are cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both sides maintain high-level visits and meetings and cooperation mechanisms, notably an annual meeting of the two Political Bureaus and the 42nd session of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-Governmental Committee.

In the first half of this year, the countries exchanged 27 delegations, in which 10 Vietnamese delegations visited Laos.

Defence-security cooperation continues to be one of the important pillars in the bilateral relations. Vietnam and Laos have actively carried out the five-year cooperation protocol and the annual defence – security cooperation plans, helping ensure political stability, security and social order and safety in each nation. They have also effectively carried out the agreement on border regulations and the one on dealing with irregular migration and undocumented marriage in their border areas.

Additionally, both sides have continued working together to search for and repatriate the remains of Vietnam’s volunteer soldiers and experts who laid down their lives in Laos during wartime. In the 2019 – 2020 dry season, 168 remains were repatriated from Laos.

Due to the COVID-10 pandemic, bilateral cooperation in trade and investment has been affected. Two-way trade was valued at 815.5 million USD during January-October, down 12.2 percent year-on-year.

The two sides have effectively implemented the project on improving the quality and effectiveness of bilateral ties in education and human resources development for 2011 – 2020.

In 2020, Vietnam provided 1,000 scholarships for Laos, while the latter also gave 60 scholarships for the former.

Additionally, links between Vietnamese and Lao localities, especially the border ones, have been further strengthened, including in infrastructure building, health care, human resources development, and border security ensuring.

The countries have also coordinated closely and supported each other at regional and international forums. They have further enhanced cooperation with each other and other ASEAN members in building the ASEAN Community and maintaining the bloc’s solidarity and consensus in the strategic issues of the region./.