Laos, Malaysia keen to expand cooperative relations
March 20, 2017 11:03 By Vientiane Times Asia News Network Vientiane
Laos and Malaysia are keen to expand bilateral cooperation particularly in areas relating to investment, banking, finance, transportation, tourism, education and human resource development for mutual benefit.
This was the outcome of a bilateral meeting held between Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman and visiting Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith.
Saleumxay's official visit to Malaysia took place from March 16-18. In talks held on Friday the two sides expressed their desire to further expand their cooperation.
Both sides said they highly valued the development of bilateral relations and cooperation between Laos and Malaysia over past years with exchanges of visits by high-level delegations, according to the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Anifah expressed confidence that Saleumxay's visit would be a productive one and strengthen Malaysia-Laos bilateral relations and cooperation, according to the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama).
He said it was hoped that Mr Saleumxay's visit to the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations in Kuala Lumpur would provide Laos with some insight into the diplomatic training conducted there and courses that would be useful for participants from Laos.
In 2016, there was a significant improvement of 120 percent in Malaysia's total trade with Laos, which amounted to US$30.96 million (Bt1 billion), an increase of 75 per cent compared to the previous year.
In the meantime, the total value of Malaysian investment in Laos amounted to $820 million in 104 projects, making the country the fifth largest foreign investor in Laos.
In November last year, AirAsia opened a new route connecting Kuala Lumpur directly to the UNESCO Heritage city of Luang Prabang in Laos with four flights a week.
AirAsia is the first and only airline to operate direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Luang Prabang. This will be the airline group's 70th intra-Asean route connecting all 10 Asean countries, as well as the airline's fourth route into Laos after Kuala Lumpur-Vientiane, Bangkok-Vientiane and Bangkok-Luang Prabang.
In addition, the two sides discussed preparations for the fourth joint committee meeting to be held in the near future.
The Lao side thanked the Malaysian government for supporting Laos in its chairmanship of Asean last year.
Laos and Malaysia completed a draft memorandum of understanding on science, technology and innovation cooperation, which will be signed by the relevant sectors of the respective countries in the near future.
Saleumxay, in his opening remarks, expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Malaysian government and people for their continuous efforts to help bring greater economic and social development to Laos.
"The five decades of cooperation between Malaysia and Laos have been very productive and brought about tangible benefits and outcomes to both countries," he said.
The Lao side also thanked Malaysia for assisting with transmission line improvement in Vientiane and northern Laos worth $65 million.
Since 1991, Malaysia has been sending medical teams to provide free health checks for people Vientiane's Sangthong district. During his visit, Saleumxay also called on Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to further discuss cooperation.