Singapore President Tony Tan Makes Official Visit to Laos

Singapore-and-Laos
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President Bounnhang Vorachit received the President of the Republic of Singapore, Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, at the Presidential Palace yesterday for diplomatic discussions.

Laos and Singapore are to strengthen relations and continue cooperation in a number of areas.

Dr Tan and his delegation arrived in Vientiane on Wednesday, and are making an official state visit which will conclude this Saturday.

During talks, President Bounnhang and Dr Tan exchanged ideas on a number of topics, and discussed areas for future cooperation.

The two presidents praised the cooperation made between the two countries after establishing diplomatic relations in 1974 .

Dr Tan gave high praise to Laos for the country’s success in hosting the ASEAN Summits last year.

In turn, President Bounnhang said Singapore’s contributions within the ASEAN framework had been extremely valuable, and thanked Singapore for its generous support to Laos.

Cooperation between the two countries has been greatly enhanced over the last year, beginning with Singapore’s Silk Air signing an agreement with Lao Airlines to commence flights between Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

Singapore has also offered support in the field of human resource development by assisting Laos through scholarships for Lao students to undertake various courses in Singapore.

Singapore regularly sends volunteers to aid Laos in the fields of English language, IT, and environmental studies. Doctors and nurses from Singapore have also offered support to hospitals around Laos.

Singapore ranks 11th out of 52 countries that have invested in Laos. Companies from Singapore have invested in various sectors including handicrafts, services, consulting and commerce. The total value of Singaporean investment in Laos is estimated at around US $175 million, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Dr Tan will meet with Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith during his visit, and will then call on the University of health Sciences, where the Singapore International Foundation and Singapore Health Services are assisting Laos in physiotherapy education.

In honor of Dr Tan’s visit, a Lao translation of a book by Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the first prime minister of Singapore, will be launched during the state visit. The book, From Third World To First: The Singapore Story 1965-2000, is hoped will provide inspiration among Lao readers.

Dr Tan is scheduled to visit the much revered That Luang stupa and attend a reception for the Singaporean community in Laos.

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