VIENTIANE — President Truong Tan Sang arrived in Vientiane yesterday, beginning his three-day official visit to Laos at the invitation of Lao Party General Secretary and State President Choummaly Sayasone.
|President Truong Tan Sang (left) and Lao Party General Secretary and State President Choummaly Sayasone at a ceremony to mark co-operation between the two countries yesterday in Vientiane. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Khang
The visit is the first to Laos by Sang as President of Viet Nam and the first event in a series of activities celebrating 2012 as the Year of Viet Nam-Laos Solidarity and Friendship.
After a solemn welcoming ceremony in the Presidential Palace, President Sang held talks with Party General Secretary and President Choummaly Sayasone.
The Lao leader applauded the Vietnamese delegation's visit, saying it would help bring the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive co-operation between Viet Nam and Laos to a new level.
The two sides made a commitment to give every priority to consolidating and strengthening that relationship, considering it an invaluable asset that should be preserved and passed to future generations.
They agreed to raise two-way trade to US$1 billion in 2012 and $2 billion in 2015.
After the talks, the two leaders attended a press conference to launch the Year of Viet Nam - Laos Solidarity and Friendship.
They witnessed the signing of several documents on co-operative activities, including a co-operation plan in 2012 between the two education ministries, a protocol on training co-operation between the two governments, and a contract on long and medium-term credit worth $50 million between the Viet Nam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade and the Lao Central Bank.
On the same day, President Sang held talks with Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and Lao National Assembly Chairman Pany Yathotu.
The Lao PM appreciated the visit of the Vietnamese delegation, describing it as an important political event to further deepen the friendly relations between Viet Nam and Laos.
Thongsing Thammavong expressed his hope that the two countries would co-operate comprehensively in a range of areas and educate younger generations about the traditional, friendship and bilateral co-operation between Viet Nam and Laos.
At the talks with the Lao NA Chairman, President Sang said he believed that with the great achievements and experiences gained through 25 years of renovation, the Lao Party, State and people would successfully implement Resolution 9 on socio-economic development to build a socialist nation of peace, democracy, unity and prosperity.
Yesterday, President Sang also attended the groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the Laos-based General Federation House of the Vietnamese people.
The two-storey building with an area of 870 square metres will be a place of exchange for the 30,000 members.
Sang said he highly valued the construction of the House, reminding Vietnamese people in Laos to live in solidarity with Laotian people, to strictly obey the law and to enhance the two countries' relationship.
President Sang also attended the opening of a branch for the Viet Nam Joint Stock Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) in Laos.
The office aimed to serve the Lao business community and people, Vietnamese people in Laos and to promote trade for both sides.
TV deal inked
Viet Nam Television (VTV) and counterparts in Laos will increase exchanges of weekly television content under an agreement inked yesterday in Laos.
The deal, which will be effective during the 2012-14 period, was signed between Lao Information, Culture and Tourism Minister Bosengkham Vongdala and VTV's general director Tran Binh Minh.
According to the agreement, the two sides will exchange news, reports and other television programmes as well as music clips, documentaries, films and dramas.
Laos would continue to encourage VTV to invest in building more broadcasting stations across Laos, VTV announced on its website.
VTV said it would boost programmes with Laotian subtitles on VTV4, its international channel, and would help to train Laotian television personnel in Viet Nam.
It will also provide technical assistance to Laos Television in maintaining and repairing its television infrastructure and broadcasting networks. — VNS