The north central province of Thanh Hoa and the Laos ’ eastern province of Huoaphanh jointly hold the Vietnam-Laos Culture Week taking place from August 10-16.

The event with many art and sport performances aims to mark the 2012 Vietnam-Laos Friendship Year, the 35 th anniversary of the Friendship and Cooperation Treaty, 50 years of the establishment of the Vietnam-Laos diplomatic ties, and 45 years since Vietnam ’s Thanh Hoa and Laos ’ Houaphanh province were twinned and the development cooperation between the two provinces were inked.

Since 2006, the two localities have signed a host of agreements on socio-economic, national defense and security cooperation.

Annually, the two sides maintain high-ranking meetings reviewing their activities in all fields of cooperation as well as signing cooperation agreements for the next year.

The two-way trade has gradually developed with the total of the two sides’ export-import revenue reaching more than 27,000 USD since 2006.

Thanh Hoa province’s enterprises have established 42 projects in Houaphanh with the total investment capital of 13.5 million USD representing 70 percent of Vietnamese businesses’ investment capital in the locality.

The Thanh Hoa-based Hong Duc University and Health College have trained 150 Houaphanh’s students majoring in business administration, health, and agro-forestry.

The Vietnamese province has also helped its twin in the health industry with many meaningful activities including training Huoaphanh’s medical workers, and offering treatment for more than 2,300 local people.

Thanh Hoa also ensures its annual cost of training for the Lao locality.

Despite many difficulties, the province has still invested in Houaphanh projects such as the Phan Xam high school and Nam Sam Bridge in Xamneua town.

It also pledges to provide 3 million USD for Houaphanh to build a Political-Administration School in Viengxay town and upgrade the Sam To-Bat Mot border gate road.

For their part, Houaphanh province has facilitated and worked closely with Thanh Hoa to successfully excavate nearly 600 remains of Vietnam ’s volunteer soldiers in Laos .

The two localities are willing to create favourable conditions for both sides’ enterprises to invest and develop their own business in each other’s markets.

In an attempt to uphold the two countries’ solidarity and friendship, the two provinces aim to achieve a two-way ex-import turnover of 25 billion USD in the next five years.

Beside cooperation in economic development, the two localities have positively educated the residents in border areas to understand and comply with the Vietnam- Laos Agreement on National Border Regulations in general and other signed documents between the two provinces in particular.

The two sides have coordinated well in the implementation of upgrading border markers. To date, they have both finished the identifying of marker positions and established 76 new markers.

Last July, the two provinces inaugurated Marker 281, and announced to raise level of the Ten Tan-Xom Vang bordergate to national from local.

The two sides strive for a completion of their marker planting by late 2012.-VNA