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|State visits to aid neighbouring ties, Photo: baochinhphu.vn|
According to the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations, Party General Secretary, State President Nguyen Phu Trong is paying an official friendship visit to Laos during February 24-25 at the invitation of Laos Party General Secretary, President Bounnhang Vorachith, and a state visit to Cambodia on February 25-26 at the invitation of Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni.
These are his first visits to these neighbouring nations as Vietnam’s Party General Secretary, State President.
According to the commission, the Vietnamese leader’s visit to Laos is aimed to “affirm Vietnam’s consistent policy in attaching special importance to and placing a high priority on its relations with Laos, strengthening the special and reliable solidarity and comprehensive co-operation between both parties and nations.”
During the visit, Vietnam and Laos discussed major bilateral co-operation orientations and policies in order to enhance the quality and effectiveness of co-operation in all sectors.
The two nations also released a joint statement, and the Vietnamese leader had meetings with Lao leaders and witnessed the signing of several co-operation deals between the two nations. The Vietnamese leader also visited the project to construct Laos’ National Assembly building, which is financed by Vietnam.
At the 41st meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Intergovernmental Committee organised in Hanoi on January 6, 2019, the two sides inked six co-operation agreements, including a co-operation plan for 2019 between the two governments, a deal under which Vietnam will support Laos with 300 tonnes of high-quality rice varieties, and a deal on education co-operation in 2019.
According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment, currently, Vietnam has 409 operational investment projects in Laos, with the total registered capital of $4.1 billion.
Many major projects are operating successfully in Laos, such as the Xekaman 1 hydropower plant, Muong Thanh Luxury Vientiane hotel, Viettel’s telecommunications project, Ha Do Group’s Nong Tha Urban Area, Lao-Vietnam Bank, the branches of Vietcombank, VietinBank, and Sacombank, and a number of projects by Vietnam Rubber Group and Hoang Anh Gia Lai.
Many Vietnamese investments in Laos are now quite effective and profitable, which have made positive contributions to both nations’ development, according to the commission.
Bilateral trade turnover in 2018 hit nearly $1 billion, up more than 10 per cent on-year, with Vietnam enjoying a trade surplus. The two countries are striving to keep a stable increase of at least 10 per cent in bilateral trade turnover against 2018.
Meanwhile, the visit to Cambodia by Party General Secretary, State President Nguyen Phu Trong is aimed to “affirm that Vietnam always attaches great importance to and places a high priority on consolidating and enhancing the friendship and comprehensive co-operation between Vietnam and Cambodia in a deeper and more sustainable manner,” said the commission. Another goal of the visit is to “exchange major orientations and measures to boost both nations’ bilateral relations in the new development period.”
The Vietnamese leader will meet with Cambodian leaders, likely attend a Vietnam-Cambodia business forum, and witness the signing of some co-operation deals. After the visit, the two nations will release a joint statement.
Currently, Vietnam and Cambodia are boosting agricultural, transport, and industrial co-operation. They are also actively implementing an electricity-connecting system between the two nations. Vietnam has also been selling electricity to border provinces of Cambodia and connect a 110 kilovolt power grid to the capital, Phnom Penh. The two nations are also maintaining co-operation in exploring and exploiting minerals.
During Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Cambodia in April 2017, the two sides inaugurated a four kilometre bridge connecting Chrey Thom area in Cambodia’s Kandal province and Long Binh area of Vietnam’s southern An Giang province.
This project was funded by the Vietnamese government via concessional loans.