By VIENTIANE TIMES
ASIA NEWS NETWORK
This is Thongloun’s first visit to Malaysia since taking the top government post a year ago. His visit aims to strengthen the long-standing friendship and good cooperation between the two countries.
A meeting took place Tuesday morning after an official greeting ceremony at the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Office in Kuala Lumpur.
The two sides said they highly valued the friendship and cooperation between their two countries, which they said had continued to grow and expand.
This was evidenced by the regular exchanges of visits between high-level officials.
According to a press release from the Foreign Ministry, the meeting discussed cooperation in politics, national defence and public security, trade and investment, finance and banking, transportation, tourism, health, science and technology, education and human resources development.
Exchange of views
Views were exchanged on regional and international issues of mutual interest.
The Lao side thanked the Malaysian government for financial assistance of US$65 million (Bt2.3 billion) for the development |and improvement of power transmission lines in Vientiane and |the northern provinces, and the human resources development project in Laos through the Malaysia Technical Cooperation Programme.
Since 1991, more than 1,400 Laotians have received scholar-ships under the project.
The Malaysian government sent 50 doctors and medical staff to |provide free health check-ups in Phonsavanh village of Vientiane’s Sangthong district in 2015 and last year.
Malaysia’s support also helped Laos to successfully chair Asean last year.
Malaysia has supported Laos’ membership to various international organisations, especially within the United Nations.
After the meeting, Thongloun and Najib Razak witnessed the |signing of a memorandum of |understanding for science, technology and innovation cooperation between the Ministry of Science |and Technology of Laos and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Malaysia.
In the afternoon, Thongloun and his delegation paid a courtesy visit to the 15th Yang di-PertuanAgong, Sultan Muhammad 5 at Istana Negara.
Thongloun attended a Lao-Malaysian business meeting or-ganised by the Ministry of Industry and International Trade of Malaysia and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The meeting introduced the two countries’ investment policies, along with the business and investment opportunities in each country.
It also enabled officials and |businessmen from Laos and Malaysia to share ideas on promoting trade and investment between the two countries.
Laos and Malaysia last year opened a National Defence Counsellor Office in each other’s country.
Two-way trade reached $30.9 million last year, a 75-per-cent increase on the previous year.
Malaysia’s investments in Laos total about $1 billion, covering |100 projects. This has pushed Malaysia up to fourth place among the countries investing in Laos.
The two countries also started direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Luang Prabang last year, with four flights a week. There were previously three flights a week between Vientiane and Kuala Lumpur.