|A welcome ceremony was held for Minister of National Defence Gen. Phan Văn Giang in Vientiane. — VNA/VNS Photo
VIENTIANE — Minister of National Defence Gen. Phan Văn Giang met with General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith and the country’s Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh in Vientiane on Tuesday.
Giang told the Lao leaders that Việt Nam always treasures and exerts efforts to maintain and build on its special and faithful relationship with Laos, which is vital to each country’s political regime.
He thanked the Party, Government, people, and defence ministry of Laos for creating favourable conditions for the search for and repatriation of remains of Việt Nam’s volunteer soldiers and experts killed in Laos.
The minister also expressed his hope that the Lao Party, Government, and National Assembly will continue providing mechanism and policy support for Vietnamese enterprises, including military firms, to operate in such fields as telecommunications, information technology, digital transformation, and construction.
The two Lao leaders said that Giang’s selection of Laos as the first country to visit as Defence Minister of Việt Nam reflected the particularly close bonds between the two countries and the two armies.
Earlier the same day, Giang and his Lao counterpart Chansamone Chanyalath held talks, during which they discussed international and regional issues of common concern, reviewed cooperation outcomes in the recent past, and suggested cooperation orientations for the future.
They expressed support for intensifying ties among the armies of Laos, Việt Nam and Cambodia, including maintaining the annual meeting of the three countries' defence ministers and supporting each other at multilateral events hosted by each of them. They agreed to study joint activities in different forms among the countries' armies.
Counsellor and Deputy Ambassador of Laos to Việt Nam Chanthaphone Khammanichanh told the Vietnam News Agency that Việt Nam and Laos have achieved much from their cooperation, playing a significant part in sustaining political stability and socio-economic development in each country.
The Lao diplomat highlighted the special bilateral ties which have produced practical results in all areas, from politics, national defence and security, to foreign affairs and economy, culture, science and technology, healthcare, and education and training.
The achievements have benefited citizens of the two countries, strengthened their special relations, and heightened the role of the two Parties and States, contributing to global peace, stability, cooperation and development.
He went on to mention Việt Nam as one of the biggest foreign investors in Laos, with some US$5.4 billion in FDI mostly in hydropower, mining, agriculture, and tourism. Vietnamese businesses not only operate for profit but also build social infrastructure to improve local people's living conditions such as schools, hospitals and irrigation works.
Last year, two-way trade hit about $1.3 billion, a year-on-year increase of 33.8 per cent, despite the impacts of the severe COVID-19 resurgence, he said, adding that Laos increased exports of its key agricultural products such as rice, coffee, rubber, bananas, sugar and watermelons to Việt Nam.
According to the deputy ambassador, the two countries are working together to boost cross-border transport connectivity. They plan to develop a highway connecting the two capitals – Hà Nội and Vientiane – viewed as an artery of friendship and a gateway to the region and the world for sustainable development. An East-West Corridor is also being developed to boost tourism growth. — VNS