Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Visits Laos

Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu Visits Laos

Japanese foreign minister Motegi Toshimitsu made a working visit to Laos last week to mark the 65th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Laos and Japan.

Foreign Minister Motegi led a delegation to Laos from 22-24 August to strengthen the long history of friendship and strategic cooperation between the two countries.

Minister Motegi noted that this year was a milestone year marking the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Lao PDR and the fifth anniversary of their strategic partnership, and expressed his intention to develop an even closer strategic partnership between the two countries in a range of areas.

In response, Minister Saleumxay stated that it was his pleasure to welcome Japanese foreign minister amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Minister Saleumxay also stated that the spread of the Covid-19 had been contained in the Lao PDR partly due to assistance by Japan and that he appreciates Japan’s assistance to Laos while Japanese people are making their best efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

The two ministers discussed the possibility of a system allowing longterm residents of each other’s nations, and investors and businesspeople, to travel between the two countries while maintaining the requirement of a fourteen-day quarantine at home or at another designated area. The travelers would be monitored throughout their stay but it would allow commerce to continue, with the Lao side keen to see more Japanese businesses move their operations to Laos.

Handover of medical equipment to assist Laos in the fight against Covdi-19
Handover of medical equipment to assist Laos in the fight against Covdi-19.

The Lao and Japanese delegations also discussed cooperation in the areas of disaster and disease prevention, public security, financial stability, and infrastructure development, including a feasibility study on the Vientiane-Hanoi Expressway to strengthen connectivity.

Finally, discussions were held to exchange views on the regional situation, including the South China Sea issue and the situation of North Korea, as well as cooperation in international arenas.

Following the meeting, in the presence of the two Ministers, a signing ceremony was held for the Exchange of Notes regarding two Grant Aid Projects related to the improvement of facilities and equipment at teacher training schools and their affiliated schools in eight locations in Laos, and to the provision of new public buses that will serve the city of Vientiane.

A hand-over ceremony was also held for medical equipment that will contribute to the Covid-19 response in Laos.

Japanese foreign minister Motegi Toshimitsu meets with PM Thongloun Sisoulith
Japanese foreign minister Motegi Toshimitsu meets with PM Thongloun Sisoulith

Foreign Minister Motegi also paid a courtesy visit to Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith yesterday, expressing his appreciation for accepting his visit and praising the united efforts of the Lao people to contain the spread of Covid-19 under the leadership of PM Thongloun.

In response, the prime minister stated that it was his great pleasure to welcome Minister Motegi amid the Covid-19 pandemic and that he appreciated Japan’s continued assistance to the Lao PDR.

Minister Motegi elaborated on discussions held with regarding resuming visits for residents and businesspeople between Laos and Japan, as well as international cooperation and strategic partnerships.