Thailand, Laos to Join Forces to Tackle Transboundary Haze, Enhance Cooperation

Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone and Thai PM Srettha Thavisin on 30 October 2023 (Photo: Vientiane Mai)

Thailand and Laos are set to join forces to tackle hazardous transboundary haze ahead of the upcoming burning season when farmers burn down part of the nearby forest areas to prepare their lands for next year’s harvest.

During his trip to Laos on 29-31 October, Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin committed to supporting Laos in mapping the country’s fire risk areas in 2024 and drafting a joint action plan to control cross-border air pollution in Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. 

As clean energy was a central part of the talks between the Thai and Lao delegations in Vientiane, Thai PM Srettha also revealed his country’s interest in purchasing more green energy from Laos to supply Thailand’s fast-growing industrial sector.

Srettha and the Lao officials also discussed cooperation in a wide range of areas, including education, public health, agriculture, infrastructure, trade and investment, border demarcation, and tourism, among others.

The Lao National Assembly Chairman expressed the hope that the Thai government will continue cooperating and supporting Laos in hosting the 45th ASEAN International Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in 2024 and the country’s ASEAN chairmanship the same year.

Lao PM Sonexay expressed his high appreciation for the continued growth of Lao-Thai trade and investment cooperation. Thailand is currently Laos’ largest trading partner and the third largest foreign investor in the country.

The two Prime Ministers witnessed the signing of two bilateral cooperation documents, including a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on exchange cooperation between the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism and the Thai Ministry of Culture and a MoU on capacity building and development of the Lao-Thai train service business between the National Railway Enterprise and Neighboring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA).

During the meeting, PM Srettha also handed over a number of aid projects from the Thai government to PM Sonexay. These projects included a learning center for sustainable agricultural development at the Technical-Vocational School in Attapeu Province and a friendship botanical garden to celebrate the 70th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Laos and Thailand.