Laos and Australia Strengthen Ties Amid ASEAN Summit

PM Thongloun Sisoulith and PM Malcolm Turnbull

Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull held bilateral talks on Saturday, amid the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, which was held in Sydney from March 17-18.

The two premiers agreed to strengthen ties and cooperation between their two countries in a broad range of fields, including agriculture, public works and transport, finance, and human rights, according to the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Australia and Laos are parties to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), which entered into force in Laos on January 1, 2011. Australia has provided duty free and quota-free access for Lao goods exported to Australia since 2003.

PM Thongloun with kangaroo
PM Thongloun feeds a kangaroo at Sydney’s Tooronga Zoo

A press release from the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that PM Thongloun and PM Turnbull valued the friendly relations enjoyed between the two countries since the establishment of diplomatic ties 66 years ago. The Enduring relationship between the two nations has included cooperation in various fields.

Australia has provided development assistance to Laos throughout the relationship, including in the fields of education, human resource development, and the clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXOs) that were dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War.

The government of Australia has also provided scholarships for Lao students and civil servants, facilitating their study at distinguished Australian universities.

Meanwhile, more than 12,000 people in Australia identify themselves as having Lao ancestry, with over 10,000 born in Laos, according to the Australian Embassy to Laos.

PM Thongloun thanked his host, PM Turnbull, for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation, and congratulated Australia on hosting the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, and invited him to make an official visit to Laos in the near future.

Source: Khaosarn Pathet Laos