This is an important event for the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos, in the context that the two countries are going to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 45th anniversary of the signing of the Laos-Vietnam Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in 2022. This is the first visit to Vietnam by Phankham Viphavanh as Prime Minister of Laos.
The visit is made in the context, that the situation in Laos continues to stabilise, after the success of the 11th National Congress of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and the election of deputies to the 9th National Assembly. The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated developments, negatively affecting the economic development of Laos. After timely periods of implementing social distancing measures to fight the pandemic, the Lao government is gradually reopening its door in a bid to control the pandemic and restore the economy.
The great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos continues to be firmly consolidated and deepened throughout all fields of cooperation. Political cohesion and trust are also enhanced. Amid the complicated development of the pandemic, the two nations have still maintained visits and exchanges in many flexible forms.
Notably, President Nguyen Xuan Phuc paid an official friendship visit to Laos, General Secretary and President of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith paid an official visit to Vietnam and Lao National Assembly Chairman Saysomphone Phomvihane paid an official visit to Vietnam.
The two sides also maintain cooperation mechanisms, including the meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Intergovernmental Committee. Defence and security cooperation is an important pillar for the relationship between the two countries and both sides continue to work together to maintain the borderline of peace and friendship.
Economic, cultural, educational and scientific-technical cooperation has made positive strides. Two-way trade turnover reached 1.2 billion USD by the end of November 2021, up 33.6% over the same period in 2020. Cooperation between localities is also strengthened, especially in building infrastructure, medical care, and common border security.
The two sides have collaborated closely in the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic and supported each other at regional and international cooperation forums.
During his official visit to Vietnam, Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will co-chair the 44th meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Intergovernmental Committee. The two countries will also kick off the Vietnam-Laos and Laos-Vietnam Solidarity and Friendship Year 2022. The organisation of the meeting affirms the two countries' foreign priorities of constantly promoting the friendly and cooperative relationship, creating a unified channel to direct and promote implementation of high-level agreements in the future.
Welcoming the Lao Prime Minister's official visit, Vietnam affirms its consistent policy of attaching importance to and prioritising the relationship between the two countries and asserts its strong and comprehensive support for Laos to successfully implement the Resolution of the 11th Congress of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and the Socio-economic Development Plan over the 2021-2025 period. In the spirit of special friendship, Vietnam continues to support Laos in overcoming difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and in boosting socio-economic development.
May the official visit to Vietnam by Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh be a great success, contributing to strengthening political cohesion and trust and consolidating the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos.