By Vientiane Times
Asia News Network
The direction of deepening relations and enhancement of bilateral cooperation was agreed on at the Third Lao-Thai Joint Cabinet Retreat (JCR) held in Vientiane yesterday co-chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and his Thai counterpart General Prayut Chan-o-cha.
After a two-hour meeting, the two prime ministers witnessed the signing of seven documents; namely the record of the JCR, memorandums of understanding (MOUs) on cooperation in the justice and legal sector, in transport, education, natural resources and environment, immigration management, and a MOU on power trade between Electricite du Laos and Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.
In the natural resources and environment sector, the two sides have agreed on setting up a botanic garden in Naxon village, Pakngum district, Vientiane.
After the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Thongloun and Prime Minister Prayut together held a news briefing where the Lao prime minister conveyed that the JRC was held under the atmosphere of brotherhood and he hoped the meeting would lead to the implementation of various agreements which would bring development to both nations along with mutual visits that protect their friendly ties.
As mentioned by Mr Thongloun, the sides appreciated the implementation of various agreements which they said had brought productive results.
Regarding the persistent deepening relations between both nations, the Lao PM said “Our two countries will move forward together to bring prosperity to people’s lives”.
At the retreat meeting, the two sides reviewed achievements of past bilateral cooperation in various fields.
The two sides praised the Joint Border Committee for their work in addressing border issues and the progress made in surveying as related units from both sides enhanced their efforts to finish the survey and marker installation for the land border by 2020 and water border by 2021.
The two sides confirmed to continue the promotion of economic, trade and investment cooperation in electric power and other sectors that have the potential for more growth to benefit both sides and strengthen the building of the Asean Community.
The two sides agreed on targeting the doubling of trade volume by 2021 compared to that of 2016.
Prime Minister Thongloun, representing the Lao government and people, expressed gratitude to His Majesty the Thai King and royalty, the royal government and Thai people for their assistance to Lao people, especially following the collapse of the Xepian-Xenamnoy Hydropower project saddle dam in Attapeu province’s Sanamxay district.
“Thailand was among the foreign countries which offered timely assistance for the rescue and relief from the disaster and helped to reduce the losses,” he said.
During the visit of the high-level Thai delegation to Laos, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha represented the Thai government and people in handing over additional grants valued at 75 million baht or around 19.5 billion kip for the restoration of livelihoods in Attapeu province.
The Thai government and people also presented 55 million baht or around 14.6 billion kip for the development of the Lao Physical Education College in Thongpong village, Vientiane.
At the briefing, Mr Thongloun conveyed Laos’ full support for and cooperation with Thailand in its rotating chairmanship of Asean next year, and the country’s full confidence in Thailand’s chairmanship in deepening the building of the Asean Community.
Laos and Thailand also agreed on activities to be organised to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2020.
Speaking at the briefing, Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha stressed the deepening relations between the two nations heading toward setting up the strategic partnership.
He noted the future cooperation in security, combating drug and human trafficking, as well as infrastructure development for facilitating mutual visits between people of the two nations and decreasing travelling time.
After the meeting, the Lao and Thai prime ministers joined the opening of an exhibition at the National Convention Centre in Vientiane to mark 50 years of Lao-Thai Energy relations under the theme “From the first transmission line to the secured presence and future”.