Vietnamese, Lao top legislators want parliamentary ties to become ‘exemplary model’ in region, world

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Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Vương Đình Huệ and spouse (left) welcome his Lao counterpart Xaysomphone Phomvihane and spouse to Hà Nội, Việt Nam, on Monday. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn

HÀ NỘI — Chairman of Việt Nam National Assembly (NA) Vương Đình Huệ and Lao counterpart Xaysomphone Phomvihane on Monday in Hà Nội discussed various aspects of bilateral cooperation, as the latter is on a three-day official visit to Việt Nam.

This is the first high-level international delegation to visit Việt Nam’s NA in nearly two years due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On behalf of the leadership of the parliament, NA Chair Huệ warmly welcomed Lao NA President Xaysomphone’s visit to Việt Nam, expressing appreciation for the fact that the Lao legislator chose Việt Nam as the first country to visit in his new capacity.

The visit is an important milestone, contributing to the consolidation and promotion of great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two Parties, States and peoples in general, and between the National Assembly of the two countries.

NA Chair Huệ reaffirmed the Party and State’s consistent policy to attach great importance to and give the highest priority to preserving and promoting the close, unique and special relationship between Việt Nam and Laos, and that Việt Nam always wholeheartedly, strongly and comprehensively supported Lao’s reforms, nation-building and defence.

For his part, the top Lao legislator thanked Việt Nam for its COVID-19 support, with donations of medical supplies worth US$6.3 million since the beginning of the pandemic.

He acknowledged the socio-economic development aid, totalling VNĐ930 billion ($40.26 million), that Việt Nam provided for Laos in 2020, when Việt Nam itself was facing numerous challenges.

The Lao NA President also expressed gratitude for the Lao NA building that Việt Nam financed and constructed as a gift for the Lao Party, State, and people, stressing that Laos will make full use of the building to make it truly stand out as a vivid demonstration of the special friendship and solidarity between the two countries.

During the talks, the two parliament chairs concurred in the assessment that political-diplomatic relations in all channels between Việt Nam and Laos have been increasingly tightened.

In particular, the two sides have coordinated to successfully organise two official friendship visits by General Secretary and President of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith to Việt Nam in June this year, and later, a visit from Vietnamese State President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc to Laos in August, which both have yielded many important and substantive results, creating more impetus for comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

Cooperation in the fields of security-defence, trade and investment, energy, transport connection, education and training, COVID-19 fight cooperation, and cooperation between localities and people-to-people exchanges have been given proper attention, the two leaders agreed.

The Lao NA President noted with appreciation how even with COVID-19, the two-way trade this year hit $948 million so far, up 28 per cent compared to the same period last year, while Việt Nam is currently the third biggest investor in Laos out of 54 countries and territories, with 409 projects and capital totalling $1.9 billion.

The two NA leaders said bilateral parliamentary cooperation is flourishing, with the two NAs effectively carrying out the 2017 agreement with many diverse cooperation activities including high-level delegation visits, thematic discussions and experience sharing conferences, support for each other in capacity building for legislators and NA staff, as well as infrastructure and IT capacity.

The two chairs have discussed in detail the cooperation results of the two National Assemblies and covered orientations of cooperation for the future.

On that basis, the two Presidents agreed to consider amending and supplementing the cooperation agreement between the two countries’ NAs, focusing on a number of important items such as close coordination in supervision and facilitating the effective implementation of high-level agreements between the two countries, especially the key tasks in the Việt Nam-Laos cooperation strategy for the 2021-30 period, Việt Nam-Laos cooperation agreement for the 2021-25 period, and other agreements.

The two want to make Việt Nam-Laos parliamentary ties an exemplary model in the region and in the world.

NA Chairs Huệ and Xaysomphone agreed to strengthen exchanges between the two women parliamentarians and young parliamentarians, in tandem with seminars on implementing the role of the legislative body and conferences on the rich tradition of special relations between the two countries to help the younger generations understand the history and inherit this “great asset”.

Further exchanges, especially between people’s councils of provinces and centrally-run cities, including neighbouring localities, should be encouraged, the two top legislators noted.

The two chairs agreed that Việt Nam and Laos should continue to promote the trilateral parliamentary cooperation mechanism of Việt Nam – Laos – Cambodia.

The two also agreed that they would propose to the Cambodian National Assembly and Senate to consider, when necessary, holding meetings involving the three countries’ parliament leaders in order to promote and improve the effectiveness of the Việt Nam – Laos tripartite cooperation mechanism.

NA Chair Huệ also wants the two parliaments to hold events commemorating the 60th anniversary of Việt Nam-Laos bilateral diplomatic relations (September 5, 1962) and 45th anniversary of Việt Nam-Laos Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation (signed in July 1977) in 2022.

On this occasion, the two NA leaders witnessed the handover ceremony of medical supplies worth $1 million by the Vietnamese NA to support Laos in COVID-19 prevention and control, including 2.1 million medical-grade masks, 100,000 COVID-19 test kits, along with protective gear, sanitisers, body temperature scanners and $100,000 in cash. — VNS

Top Vietnamese and Lao legislators witnessed the handover ceremony of medical supplies donated from Việt Nam to Laos. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn

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