Foreign Ministers Bùi Thanh Sơn of Việt Nam (right) and Saleumxay Kommasith of Laos meet in China’s Chongqing City on Sunday. VNA/VNS Photo
BEIJING — Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn and his Lao counterpart Saleumxay Kommasith on Sunday discussed their countries’ mutual support in the fight against COVID-19 and identified ways to boost bilateral relations.
The meeting took place in China’s Chongqing City, on the sidelines of the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the 6th Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
Sơn expressed his delight at the first official meeting between the foreign ministers of Việt Nam and Laos since their respective countries’ national Party congresses and the establishment of their new governments.
He spoke highly of the two sides’ co-ordination to carry out many major bilateral diplomatic activities, thus maintaining frequent meetings and contact at all levels despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hailing bilateral co-operation and mutual assistance in the COVID-19 fight, Son thanked the Lao Party and State leaders for extending sympathies to Việt Nam on the pandemic situation in Việt Nam.
The minister also voiced his hope that Việt Nam’s financial aid, medical supplies, and health experts sent to Laos will help with the latter’s efforts against the pandemic.
Kommasith congratulated Việt Nam on the successful elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure amid complex COVID-19 developments.
He thanked the Vietnamese Party, State, and people for their precious support for Laos in the pandemic combat, noting that his country is always ready to stand with Việt Nam in line with the spirit of the countries’ great friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive co-operation.
To continue intensifying bilateral relations, the two foreign ministers agreed to promote mutual visits and contact at all levels in various forms; make the best use of bilateral co-operation mechanisms, especially meetings of the Inter-Governmental Committee; and improve the effectiveness of co-operation in defence, security, trade, and investment.
They also discussed co-ordination to step up important joint programmes, especially transport connectivity projects to optimise the Việt Nam - Laos International Seaport (Vũng Áng Seaport).
Both agreed to enhance ties in border management to prevent illegal exit from and entry into their countries, sustain cross-border trading and soon review the one-stop-shop model at the Lao Bao - Densavan border gate pair.
Việt Nam and Laos also agreed to work more closely together at international, regional, and sub-regional forums and work with other member countries to maintain ASEAN’s solidarity and strengthen the bloc’s centrality to respond to common challenges.
Regarding their ministries’ ties, the two foreign ministers pledged to continue implementing the co-operation agreement for 2021 - 2025, including organising political consultations at the ministerial and deputy ministerial levels, boosting information sharing and strategic research, and holding more exchanges between the ministries’ key units.
They emphasised the importance of economic diplomacy, agreeing to increase experience sharing and effectively carry out the action plan for co-operation in this field for 2020 - 2025.
The two countries will early start preparations for celebrations of the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and 45 years since the signing of the Việt Nam – Laos Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation next year, according to the officials. — VNS