Tag Archives: vietnam

Cabinet Strengthens Gov Agencies Leeway To Act on Land Concessions

Lao Government Revokes Land Concessions

Land Concessions, giving development and usage rights to various individuals and corporate domestic and international investors, has long been considered one of the critical levers to leverage local and foreign investment, economic activity and job creation in Laos.

A form of long term rental, the usage rights to state land have been ceded to investors for projects from shopping malls to banana farms.

As with all investments, the results have been mixed. Amid the successes, it is now those cases of incomplete and inactive investments, environmental pollution and failed developments that have long proved a recurring issue, leading to disquiet for those affected and headaches for Laos’ policymakers, legislators and regulating authorities as Laotian Times has previously reported.

The lack of progress on a total of 81,879 hectares held under some 201 land concession projects has spurred a new round of government efforts to resolve the discrepancies under the country’s laws and respective contract conditions.

Prompting the cabinet to act were the findings of a report indicating that some 240 state land concession projects had been causing environmental damage, the nation’s press representatives were informed on February 20, 2019.

Based on such revelations, country’s cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun has instructed the country’s state agencies to revoke the land concession licenses held by investors who fail to proceed with developments in accordance with their agreements.

The meeting also approved measures to encourage investors to develop the land for which they had received concessions.

Measures approved include the authorization for state agencies to cancel concessions or fine those companies that fail to utilize state property in ways they were required to under the agreements they signed, government spokesperson Dr Chaleun Yiapaoher told the press conference held at the conclusion of the monthly cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.

Other key topics discussed include measures to improve the business climate, tax collection, rural area development and urban planning for the future needs of the capital towards 2030 and beyond.

The latest moves by the government to regulate and in cases revoke rights for failure to abide by agreements in state land concession projects comes after National Assembly members debated the issue in December.

Foremost among several cases of complaints from local communities aired at the National Assembly regarded pollution caused as a result of the activities at banana plantations in several provinces.

It saw the NA resolve that the government agencies actively push such concession holders to ensure their investments and activities abide by contract conditions for the use of state land while complying with related laws and policies.

The cabinet directed state agencies and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to improve assessment of all land in question following the laws and guidelines before granting investors the right to a concession.

This could also better permit the Ministry of Finance to collect revenue in the form of land concession fees from project developers, Dr Chaleun said.

Land concession projects could only be approved in accordance with national and provincial land development master plans approved by the relevant authorities, investors and agencies were reminded.

Relevant state agencies were also instructed to work together to ensure that forests and other wildlife habitat areas were protected from damage by investment projects.

Fireworks, Parades, Military & Political Milestones: Lao Armed Forces At 70

Lao People's Army Celebrates 70 Years Milestone

More than just an anniversary, the celebrations for the 70 years of the Lao Armed Forces on January 20 also a provide a handy milestone in the Lao political cycle.

That wasn’t just a half hour of fireworks on That Luang Esplanade and the biggest parade by the nation’s troops in a decade.

Last weekend’s celebration of the 70 years of the Lao Armed Forces was also a forum for international military-military links and a milestone in the Lao political cycle that marks three years since the previous Party Congress and two years until the next.

Lao Armed Forces Show off Russian-made Tanks at 70th Anniversary parade

Lao Armed Forces Show off Russian-made Tanks at 70th Anniversary parade

Kommadam Academy of the Ministry of National Defense in Naxaythong district was the venue for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Lao People’s Army. There the Armed Forces showcased the capacities of members and their equipment in service of the people of Laos.

(Image KPL)

The event was an eye catcher, bringing together the nations front line serving military personnel and hardware in a way that is rarely witnessed in peacetime Laos.

Photographers from local and international news agencies snapped images of equipment including theYak-130 advanced jet trainer appearing, in this case caught on image via news agencies such as China’s Xinhua.

However, it was images of the personnel themselves that proved quite gripping and potentially fear-inducing.

The parade was broadcast by Lao National Television and partners including Lao Star TV.

Live ພີທີສະເຫຼີມສະຫຼອງວັນສ້າງຕັ້ງກອງທັບປະຊາຊົນລາວ ຄົບຮອບ 70 ປີ [ 20-01-2019]

Live ພີທີສະເຫຼີມສະຫຼອງວັນສ້າງຕັ້ງກອງທັບປະຊາຊົນລາວ ຄົບຮອບ 70 ປີ [ 20-01-2019]

Posted by LAO STAR TV on ວັນເສົາ ທີ 19 ມັງກອນ 2019

As in Laos as much as anywhere, such an event to honor a nation’s armed forces is also attended by the country’s most powerful civilian as well as military leaders, past and present.

As such, the event was held in the presence of Party and government leaders including President Bounnhang Vorachit, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, senior military officials, former leaders, foreign military officials and representatives of mass organizations.

The event comes some three years to the day since the 10th Lao People’s Revolutionary Party Congress in January 2016 and some two years out from the next. A Party Congress helps set policy directions and can have lasting influence not only on the fate of the nation but on the career trajectories of its delegates alike.

LPRP Secretary General, President of Laos Mr Bounnhang Vorachit speaks at Lao People's Armed Forces 70th Anniversary Parade. (Image KPL)

LPRP Secretary General, President of Laos Mr Bounnhang Vorachit speaks at Lao People’s Armed Forces 70th Anniversary Parade. (Image KPL)

The event comes after Lao Defence Minister Chansamone Chanyalath’s promotion to the rank of General – the highest rank in the Lao People’s Army – in 2018.

Presidents of the Lao PDR present and former standing to attention as military leaders salute.

Presidents of the Lao PDR present and former standing to attention as military leaders salute.

While Laos remains under civilian rule under the LPRP, military service and familial connections provide one of the fertile sources for political capital in the country’s single party system.

International attendance was also up.

A number of foreign military delegations, including those from Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Russia, Myanmar and Thailand, as well as representatives from diplomatic corps and international organizations also attended.

Alongside the closely politically aligned neighbors namely Vietnam and China, capturing the recent headlines in military relations with Laos has been Russia.

While the export of some 30 famed T-34 tanks from Laos to Russia grabbed global headlines recently, some more modern kit has been heading the other way.

Conspicuous among the hardware on display were modern T-72 tanks and BRDM-2M armored cars reported Russia’s Sputnik News Agency via globalsecurity.org

Russia’s Head of the Directorate General for international military cooperation Aleksandr Klimovsky stated that Moscow had opened a military office in Laos while at the parade in the country’s capital of Vientiane on Sunday.

High level as to be expected, the Vietnamese delegation to the event was led by Politburo member and Minister of National Defence, General Ngo Xuan Lich. With his Lao counterpart General Chansamone, he presided over the start of repair work at the Lao capital’s Museum of Military History with the granting of some 13 billion kip (1.5 Million USD).

Not to be outdone, China was also conspicuous in its generosity, handing over a medical ward at Vientiane’s Military Hospital 103. Covering 24,000 square it meters, is equipped with nearly 300 beds and six operating rooms, and can provide medical treatments for approximately 3,000 outpatients each day.

Later the same evening, ground shaking booms and shimmering explosives were felt and indeed seen from vantage points across Vientiane on January 20 as the country’s Armed Forces marked 70 years since its establishment with a generous pyrotechnic display above That Luang Stupa, the nation’s “heart”.

Members of the public sat in the back of parked pickup trucks or stood with camera phones raised in wonder as the booms echoed across the flat and reflective asphalt surfaces to take in the spike in sight and sound.

The pyrotechnics were the biggest to be witnessed in the capital since December 2015 for the marking of the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Democratic Republic.

Amid the pyrotechnic bombast, one could easily imagine a twinkle in the eye of another Lao warrior, the leader King Setthathirat, whose statue sits ever perched upon his elevated pedestal in front of the golden stupa.

Lao People's Army Celebrates 70 Years Milestone

Lao People’s Army Celebrates 70 Years Milestone

Connectivity, People, Environment: PM Thongloun Joins Mekong-Japan Summit in Tokyo

PM Thongloun (left) & PM Abe

Mekong-Japan cooperation, connectivity, people links and the environment are major themes as Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith meets counterparts from neighbouring countries and Japan in Tokyo Tuesday.

Joining Dr Thongloun in being hosted by Japanese counterpart PM Shinzo Abe at today’s tenth Mekong-Japan summit in the capital of Japan are Cambodia’s Mr Hun Sen, State Counsellor of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar H.E. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Kingdom of Thailand’s Mr. Prayut Chan-o-cha and Vietnam’s Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

It comes as Dr Thongloun and Japan counterpart Mr Abe held a press conference Monday evening, agreeing for Japan to lend further ongoing support to unexploded-ordnance related projects in Laos at the cost of 900 million yen.

The two agreed to facilitate cooperation between Mittaphab hospital in Vientiane and Kitahara Neurosurgical Institute of Japan, according to the pool reports to Laos’ media by pool reporter from Lao News Agency KPL.

According to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “the Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting has been held every year since 2009 to strengthen the relationship between Japan and the Mekong countries, and for the sustainable development of and narrowing the development gap within the Mekong region.”

“This Summit is expected to further strengthen the relationship between Japan and the Mekong region.”

After their meeting, the leaders are scheduled to interact with the business community at an investment summit.

They are also expected to meet with youth football players attending “Japan-Mekong Youth Exchange Program (football)” organized as a part of the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS2018) via Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE).

The annual summits are held in the participating countries on a rotating roster, with Japan hosting on a triennial basis. The Laotian Times reported Laos’ hosting of the 8th Mekong-Japan summit in 2016 alongside the 28th & 29th ASEAN Summits.


Condolences as Laos reacts to Vietnam’s President Tran’s passing

Vietnam's President Tran(KPL)

The passing of the head of state of Laos’ neighbour and close political ally Vietnam, President Tran Dai Quang, 61, has led to the expected condolences and tributes from the nation’s political and state leadership.

“On behalf of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee, the National Assembly and Government of Laos and the Lao Front for National Construction, Party General Secretary and President Bounnhang Volachit on Friday cabled a message of condolences to the Communist Party of Việt Nam Central Committee, the National Assembly and Government of Việt Nam, and the Việt Nam Fatherland Front Central Committee, in which he expressed his deep condolences over the passing of President Quang,” Vietnam News reported.

A state funeral is expected to be held this week in Hanoi, with representation at the highest level from Laos most likely.

The presidents of the two countries met in January this year in Hanoi, and President Tran also received a courtesy call from Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith at the end of March.

According to the Vietnam News Agency, the Vietnamese President died at Military Central Hospital 108 due to serious illness.

Mr. Quang is survived by his wife and two sons.

His death is expected to leave a vacancy to be filled in the country’s state and party institutions including the Party’s powerful policymaking Political Bureau (Politbureau) on which he was ranked second after General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng.

President Tran Dai Quang was elected State President at the 11th session of the 13th National Assembly on April 22016.

Born on October 121956, he joined the Communist Party of Vietnam on July 261980, his career involving service in a litany of State and Party committee positions, including serving as Minister of Public Security with the rank of General.

Laos Urban Expansion a Cause For Concern

With Laos being one of the primary countries set on a fast track towards urbanization, experts have raised concerns over the common challenges that cities in the Mekong River region are facing.

The experts on urban design and planning from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam believe that these cities are witnessing their heritage vanish as they evolve too quickly, leaving residents reeling in the wake of their disappearing culture. Some argue that locals in the region don’t have the opportunity to set their own path for urban development.

At a forum titled, “Cities in Transition in South East Asia, New Challenges for Urban Development” held in Bangkok, representatives from the four countries discussed urbanization trends in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City. It was noted that though each city had its own method of dealing with its problems, the issues that these cities struggle with are very similar.

One of the primary concerns raised was the rapid urbanization that has led to the authorities and business sector harming the city’s deep-rooted character.

Public Works and Transport Deputy Minister Bounleuam Sisoulath reported to the forum that this problem had already occurred in the World Heritage City of Luang Prabang. The minister explained that the city is becoming increasingly famous among tourists, which has boosted the local economy but has also had negative side effects for the traditional livelihoods of its citizens.

“As the city experiences a boom in the tourism industry, there are many new hotels and entertainment places for the tourists. The local people are alienated in their hometown and many choose to leave,” Minister Bounleuam stated. “Right now, both NGOs and the authorities are trying to preserve the cultural identity of the city and focus on helping the local communities to survive,” he added, 

A geographer and urban planner contributed a similar story from Vietnam, sharing that  Ho Chi Minh City’s rapid growth had already generated conflict between its local people and authorities over claims of unfair land expropriation, as the city needed more space to expand.

However, a former dean of Chulalongkorn University debated that cities have a life of their own and will naturally adapt over time. This raised the topic of how the past could coexist in harmony with the present.

Source: The Nation

Vietnam to Promote Visit Laos Year 2018

In an effort to promote the newly launched Visit Laos Year 2018, Lao National Radio (LNR) has teamed up with Voice of Vietnam (VOV)’s Director General of the Radio, Mr Nguyen The Ky.

On November 21, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith hosted a reception in Vientiane, where Mr Nguyen informed the PM about the results of the discussions between VOV and the LNR, that took place a day prior. The Director General explained that both sides have agreed that the 2015-2018 cooperation agreement, including popularizing events during the Vietnam – Laos Year of Friendship and Solidarity 2017.

The Director General has committed to promoting Visit Laos Year 2018 by highlighting the beauty, traditional customs and people of Laos to listeners.

VOV will train LNR officials, reporters, technicians and managers and help Lao broadcasters upgrade several television and audio equipment.

Prime Minister Thongloun spoke highly of the collaboration between VOV and LNR over the past years, asserting that radio services play a significant role in circulating news, especially in remote and mountainous areas.

On the occasion, the PM thanked the Vietnamese Party and State and VOV in particular for providing effective support for LNR, which he said further strengthen ties between the two radio stations and between the two countries.

Earlier in the week, China also pledged to promote Visit Laos Year 2018, and even engaged in talks of a joint Visit Laos-China Year 2019.

Laos Donates Supplies to Vietnam Following Natural Disaster

On Monday, November 20, Lao government officials contributed 20 tonnes of rice and a tonne of dried pork and beef in aid to those affected by Typhoon Damrey, in the central coastal province of Phu Yen, Vietnam.

Typhoon Damrey, the 12th major storm to hit the East Sea, pummeled Vietnam’s south central coast on November 4, claiming 89 lives, leaving 18 missing and causing injury to 174 victims in central and Central Highlands localities.

Vietnam’s Secretary of the province’s Party Committee thanked the Lao Government for their immediate support and vowed to deliver the relief to those in need as soon as possible.

Following the transfer of the disaster relief supplies, all donations were dispatched to people living in the mountainous districts of Dong Xuan, Song Hinh and Son Hoa.

Tonnes of goods, including sugar, milk and canned foods have also been donated by Russia to aid flood recovery in Vietnam and have been allocated to the affected districts in the province.

The relief demonstrates the close ties between the people of Laos and Vietnam in times of crisis.

Laos and Vietnam Bolster Ties on Shared Border

During a conference between the Attapeu and Sekong province chapters of the Lao Front for National Construction and the Kon Tum chapter of the Vietnam Fatherland Front on November 16, both countries reached a consensus on maintaining efforts to build a Vietnam-Laos borderline of peace, friendship and cooperation.

Speaking at the conference, an official of the Vietnam Fatherland Front urged the three provinces’ front organisations to continue coordinating seamlessly in an effort to enhance close cooperation in the implementation of the Vietnam-Laos borderline of peace, friendship, cooperation agreement and development during 2017-2020.

Participants at the event agreed to routinely exchange information and experiences in front work, continue promoting the bilateral friendship and solidarity among local people, particularly those in border districts, and encourage locals to get involved in maintaining security and order in border areas.

Vietnam pledged to coordinate with relevant agencies and businesses in organizing market-days in border areas to introduce its products to Lao locals.

The Attapeu and Sekong provinces shares a 142km border with  Vietnam’s Kon Tum province.