Foreign Media Spotlight ASEAN Summits’ Positive Outcomes


Foreign media have highlighted the successful outcomes of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and related meetings held in Vientiane last week, which pave the way for development with the countries involved.

Xinhua reported that the 28th and 29th summits and related summits ended on Thursday with the 10-nation bloc and all its partners eyeing more concrete moves to realise the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

It said that ASEAN leaders adopted the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 (MPAC 2025) to boost the development of five strategic areas such as infrastructure, digital innovation and logistics.

NIKKEI highlighted the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, a sideline event that hailed ASEAN’s vibrant economy which is expected to grow at 7 percent per annum, with GDP reaching US$4.7 trillion in 2020 leading to the possibility of the bloc becoming the fourth-largest economy in the world by 2030.

The Indian Express reported that ASEAN leaders welcomed India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and ‘Make in India’. ASEAN and Indian leaders agreed to further strengthen cooperation in other areas such as food and agriculture, trade facilitation, education, clean and renewable energy, tourism, health and well-being, small and medium enterprise (SME) development, and poverty alleviation.

Outcomes of bilateral talks

Talks between Lao and foreign leaders including those who paid official visits to Laos to attend the meetings also dominated media coverage.

The first ever visit to Laos by US President Barack Obama appeared to have featured most prominently in the headlines, with most media reports saying his visit aimed to heal the wounds of war. The Star.Com reported that Obama’s visit aimed to rebuild trust between the two nations, with the US President pledging to double spending to clean up unexploded bombs in Laos.

The Wall Street Journal said President Obama recognised America’s secret war in Laos from decades ago, a symbolic gesture intended to move the two countries’ relations beyond their dark Cold War past.

Fox News quoted President Obama as saying that the US has a “moral obligation” to help Laos heal its war wounds and vowed to reinvigorate relations with a country with rising strategic importance to the US.

The Korea Herald hailed the successful outcomes of the bilateral talks between President Park Geun-hye and her Lao counterpart Bounnhang Vorachit which resulted in the signing of 18 memoranda of understanding to deepen bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, health care, infrastructure development and cultural exchanges.

The Japan Times reported that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith affirmed Japan’s commitment to work with Laos in efforts to build links with neighbouring countries, diversify the country’s economy and bridge urban-rural gaps.

CCTV’s English News reported that China eyes closer cooperation and lasting friendship with Laos with the two neighbours witnessing a great advancement in bilateral ties as they signed 20 documents to boost cooperation during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Laos. The documents covered fields ranging from trade and investment to technology and education. The Premier, who called on President Bounnhang Vorachit and held talks with Prime Minister Thongloun, expressed readiness to push ahead with major projects in Laos, including the China-Laos railway, economic zones and hydroelectric projects. Vietnam’s Nhan Dan reported that Vietnam always gives top priority to its special relationship with Laos, considering it as an invaluable asset in need of being preserved and developed, citing Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as saying as he informed Lao leaders when he called on them.


Source: Vientiane Times