President’s upcoming visit shows Việt Nam’s determination to foster ties with Laos

July 10, 2024 - 15:44
At the invitation of Thongloun Sisoulith, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, and King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia, President Tô Lâm will set off on a state visit to Laos and Cambodia from July 11-13.
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam (CPV) Central Committee Nguyễn Phú Trọng welcomed General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee and President of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith in February this year. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — President Tô Lâm is to head on his first overseas trip since taking office, on a state visit to Laos and Cambodia.

At the invitation of Thongloun Sisoulith, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, and King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia, President Lâm will set off on a state visit to Laos and Cambodia from July 11-13.

In anticipation of this visit, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Đỗ Hùng Việt gave insights into the visit's significance and the bilateral relations between Việt Nam and these neighbouring countries.

Việt said this visit marks President Tô Lâm’s first overseas trip since taking office, underscoring its substantial importance. It sends a clear message from the Party and State of Việt Nam, emphasising their highest priority on fostering the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation with Laos, as well as boosting fine neighbourly relations, traditional friendship, and comprehensive, sustainable and long-term cooperation with Cambodia.

The visit also highlights the strong bonds and solidarity among Việt Nam, Laos, and Cambodia. The three countries share geographical closeness along with historical and cultural ties, originating from the Indochinese Communist Party. The peoples of these nations have historically united, sacrificing for national liberation, unification and development.

The visit aims to implement high-level agreements, particularly the outcomes of annual meetings between the Politburo of the Communist Party of Việt Nam and the Politburo of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, and the Standing Committee of the Cambodian People's Party (CPP).

It is expected to mark a new development phase in Việt Nam-Laos and Việt Nam-Cambodia relations, fostering equality, mutual benefit, effective cooperation and respect for each other’s interests. This will contribute to strengthening strategic trust, deepening bilateral relations and enhancing solidarity among Việt Nam, Laos, Cambodia and the ASEAN bloc.

Việt Nam's relationships with Laos and Cambodia are developing positively and comprehensively, built on enhanced trust and connection, Việt said. Party-to-party cooperation plays a pivotal role in guiding the robust development of these relationships.

Defence and security cooperation between Việt Nam and Laos, and Việt Nam and Cambodia, is becoming a strong pillar, significantly contributing to maintaining stability, security and social order in each country, particularly along the borders.

The three countries adhere to the principle of not allowing hostile forces to use their territory to conduct actions against each other. Effective cooperation mechanisms include annual meetings between the Ministers of Public Security, annual meetings between the Ministers of Defence of the three nations, and joint rescue and disaster relief exercises among their armies.

Economic, investment and trade cooperation continue to progress positively and effectively, with dynamic economic cooperation in border regions. This enhances connectivity among the three countries and contributes to improving the livelihoods of people in border areas between Việt Nam and Laos and Việt Nam and Cambodia.

Regular meetings of the Vietnam-Laos Intergovernmental Committee ensure timely exchanges and solutions to enhance cooperation in key areas. Việt Nam remains one of the largest investors and trading partners of Laos, with 255 valid investment projects totaling US$5.5 billion. Việt Nam is currently the third largest trading partner of Cambodia and its largest within ASEAN, with 205 valid investment projects in Cambodia amounting to $2.94 billion. Laos and Cambodia are among the top destinations for Vietnamese investment abroad, out of 79 countries and territories.

Educational and training cooperation receives special attention from the leaderships of all three countries. Việt Nam, Laos and Cambodia prioritise disseminating extensive messages, especially to the younger generation, about the historical value of solidarity, traditional friendship and mutual sacrifice. Việt Nam focuses on supporting Laos and Cambodia in improving the quality of their work force. The number of exchange students between Việt Nam and Laos and Cambodia is increasing, with higher quality, contributing positively to each country’s development and fostering cultural exchange, understanding and interaction between their peoples.

Cooperation in transportation, culture, society, tourism and science and technology is thriving. Significant progress has been made in resolving legal documentation for people of Vietnamese origin in Cambodia, laying the foundation for better conditions for the Vietnamese community living and working there. Recently, King Norodom Sihamoni signed a decree granting citizenship to three individuals.

During the visit, President Tô Lâm is expected to hold talks and meetings with all senior leaders of Laos and Cambodia. This provides a valuable opportunity for the senior leaders of both countries to review high-level agreements, key areas of cooperation, and set directions for future collaboration. The visit is anticipated to create new momentum, aiming to deepen and strengthen the great friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation between Việt Nam and Laos, and the good neighborly relations, traditional friendship, comprehensive and sustainable cooperation between Việt Nam and Cambodia. It will also promote cooperation within multilateral frameworks such as ASEAN, the Mekong sub-regional cooperation mechanisms, and the United Nations.

Speaking to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)’s resident correspondents in Vientiane ahead of the visit, Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos Nguyễn Bá Hùng said in order to continue to maintain and promote the special ties between the two countries, they should continue to stand side-by-side and strengthen fruitful collaboration, while focusing on major priorities.

First, they should continue to make bilateral political relations deeper by effectively implementing high-level agreements, enhancing the efficiency of cooperation mechanisms between senior leaders of the two sides, and improving the common perception on the significance of the Vietnam-Laos special ties among Vietnamese and Lao people, the diplomat underlined.

Then, it is necessary to accelerate bilateral economic cooperation by expanding and upgrading the East-West transport system and deploying synchronous cooperation mechanisms and special policies to optimise resources and provide the best conditions for businesses and people of the two sides in business and investment activities, while settling obstacles via breakthrough measures, promoting new cooperation models such as the Việt Nam-Laos Plus 1 cooperation, thus making full use of the potential and strengths of the two countries and optimising partners’ capacity in terms of capital, experience and technology, he said, adding that the two sides should bring into full play free trade agreements to further increase the efficiency of their trade, market expansion and investment attraction activities.

Thirdly, it is crucial to concentrate on the quality and efficiency of human resources development to meet each country’s development requirements and contribute to fostering the close bond and solidarity between the two countries' people. — VNS