Lao Leaders Reaffirm Ties as ASEAN Chair Looms in 2024

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Lao Leaders Reaffirm Ties as ASEAN Chair Looms in the Near Future
President Thongloun Sisoulith was elected as the new General Secretary of the LPRP Central Committee during the first meeting of the committee on 15 January, 2021. (Photo: VNA)

Laos is making waves in regional diplomacy as its leaders, including President Thongloun Sisoulith and Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, wrap up a week of strategic meetings with key partner countries.

The focus on regional cooperation was highlighted during the first Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV) Parliamentary Summit on 4 December, where Cambodia and Vietnam pledged substantial support for Laos’ upcoming ASEAN Chairmanship in 2024.

Vietnam’s commitment to assisting Laos in elevating its role on the international stage sets a positive tone for strengthened partnerships, with both nations emphasizing the need to address outstanding issues and make significant strides in their long-term cooperation strategies. 

During the meeting between Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith and Vietnam’s National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, Thongloun reiterated the importance of the countries’ relationship, urging both nations to persist in collaborative efforts to address outstanding issues and achieve breakthroughs in finalizing their agreements on the 10-year cooperation strategy (2021-2030) and the five-year cooperation agreement (2021-2025).

He also expressed hope that Vietnam would continue to incentivize its enterprises to expand into Laos, prioritizing sectors such as energy, transport connectivity, and minerals. The opening of a new flight route between Laos and Vietnam by Vietjet, as highlighted by Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, also signals enhanced connectivity and new economic opportunities for both countries.

In a parallel development, Lao National Assembly President Xaysomphone Phomvihane engaged in discussions with his Cambodian counterpart, Khuon Sudary. Laos’ NA President said he highly values his counterpart’s visit, marking her first to the country after being appointed in August this year.

The leaders reviewed the socio-economic progress of their respective countries, and laid out plans to strengthen the longstanding relations, along with their comprehensive strategic partnership.

Furthermore, Russia’s Minister of Construction, Housing, and Utilities, Irek Faizullin, traveled to Laos to hold talks with Laos’ Deputy Prime Minister, Saleumxay Kommasith, and Lao Minister of Planning and Investment, Khamjane Vongphosy, during the 17th Session of the Intergovernmental Lao-Russian Commission on Economic-Trade, Scientific-Technical Cooperation. Both nations reaffirmed their commitment to deepening economic, trade, and scientific-technical cooperation. 

The international community further extended its congratulations on Laos’ 48th National Day, with leaders from China, the US, Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Vietnam acknowledging Laos’ achievements. Chinese President Xi Jinping praised Laos for its political stability and socio-economic development, while other leaders expressed hope for continued growth in friendly relations and cooperation.

With diplomatic ties flourishing and key partnerships solidifying, Laos is poised to take on its ASEAN Chairmanship in 2024 with strengthened international support.