The talks between Vietnam's Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party Central Committee and President of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith in Hanoi in June 2021 (Photo: VNA)
– The official visit to Vietnam by Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh from January 8-10 will be the opening of the Vietnam-Laos, Laos-Vietnam Friendship and Solidarity Year, aiming to further foster the special ties between the two countries amid the complicated regional and world situation.
The visit, the first trip abroad by the Lao leader in his position, and also the first by a foreign leader to Vietnam in 2022, demonstrates the determination of both sides in further promoting the bilateral special ties and effectively implementing the joint statement issued last June.
Vietnam and Laos have shared a rare relationship with the loyal friendship between the two Parties, States and peoples.
In the tough situation in 2021 due to impacts from COVID-19, Vietnam and Laos once again affirmed their loyal and warm sentiments for each other, while managing to maintain their sound partnership in all fields, at all levels and through all channels.
They showed strong cooperation in the pandemic prevention and control. Vietnam provided Laos with support in cash, medical supplies and equipment worth over 2.2 million USD, while sending many medical experts to the neighbouring country to help with the fight. Ministries, sectors and localities of Vietnam also offered assistance to their Lao peers in the work. Meanwhile, Laos also offered Vietnam 300,000 USD for pandemic response, and Lao businesses and agencies donated about 1.4 million USD to Vietnamese localities.
Bilateral defence-security cooperation has been strengthened to ensure a shared border of peace and friendship.
At the same time, trade, economic and investment partnership maintained good growth even amid the pandemic. In the first 11 months of 2021, two-way trade surged 33.6 percent to 1.2 billion USD. Vietnamese firms are investing in 209 projects worth 5.16 billion USD in Laos.
Vietnam and Laos have also enjoyed expanding collaboration in education and training. The two Ministries of Education and Training have issued a cooperation project for the 2021-2030 period. Last year, Vietnam provided 1,220 scholarships to Lao officials and students, while receiving 60 scholarships from Laos. Currently, more than 16,600 Lao students are studying in Vietnam, doubling the figure recorded five years ago.
Localities of Vietnam and Laos, especially those along the shared border, have worked closely together, especially in infrastructure building, health care, human resources training, and security and defence.
The two countries have shown close coordination and mutual support at regional and international forums, especially within the ASEAN, the UN and sub-regional cooperation mechanism.
In 2022, the “Vietnam-Laos, Laos-Vietnam Friendship and Solidarity Year 2022” will be organised with the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations and 45 years of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.
This will be a good chance for both sides to educate the youth on the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and Laos.
In the year, the two countries plan to continue fostering their ties in all fields, while effectively implementing their joint statement and agreements reached by senior leaders of both sides, maintaining visits and continuing to support each other at regional and international forums./.