| Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (R) receives Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith in Vietnam in October 2016. (Photo: VNA)
Vietnam and Laos have a long-standing special solidarity and loyalty nurtured by Presidents Ho Chi Minh, Kaysone Phomvihane, and Souphanouvong, and generations of leaders and citizens. This relationship is considered a priceless asset by both nations.
Bilateral political and diplomatic ties have been continuously reinforced through exchanges of visits at all levels. Both sides have shared their experience in building their political system and developing their economy. This year Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong visited Laos in February and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan in September. Top Lao leaders have also paid visits to Vietnam - Party General Secretary and State President Bounnhang Vorachith in August and National Assembly Chairwoman Pany Yathotou in March.
Cooperation in defense, security, and diplomacy has seen steady progress. The two countries have implemented a five-year cooperation protocol and annual defense-security cooperation plans. They have carried out agreements on border regulations and on settling irregular migration and undocumented marriage in their border areas.
Vietnam and Laos have coordinated closely and supported each other at regional and international forums. They have cooperated with each other and other ASEAN members in building the ASEAN Community and maintaining ASEAN solidarity and consensus on regional issues. Both have coordinated closely with other nations and international organizations to manage and use the Mekong River’s water resources in a sustainable manner. Party leader and President Nguyen Phu Trong praised the Vietnam-Laos relations during his official visit to Laos in 2016.
“During the past struggle for national independence and freedom and today’s national renewal, construction, and defense, the two nations have proudly recognized each other’s unshakably loyal comrades in arms and friends. The two countries’ achievements have helped create a favorable environment for national development,” Mr. Trong said.
Flourishing economic ties
Economic and trade ties continue to be a bright spot in the Vietnam-Laos relationship. Bilateral trade topped 1 billion USD last year and reached nearly 750 million USD in the first eight months of this year, up 14% year on year. A new trade agreement is in place to boost trade by at least 10%. Vietnam is the third largest foreign investor in Laos, with total registered capital of over 4 billion USD, focused on hydropower, mining, services, agriculture, and telecom.
During the current visit to Vietnam by the Lao Prime Minister, the two sides will sign some important agreements to advance bilateral ties. Party leader and President Trong emphasized the importance of the Vietnam-Laos relationship: “In a developing, tumultuous world, the special solidarity between Vietnam and Laos has grown more important to our two countries. We are determined to do our utmost to make this sacred relationship last forever.”