Friendly ties, good cooperation between Lao PDR, Brunei

Danial Norjidi

The Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) in Brunei Darussalam will continue to exert its efforts to promote the relations, cooperation and people-to-people exchange between the Lao PDR and Brunei Darussalam.

Ambassador of the Lao PDR to Brunei Darussalam Phonethavy Boutdara said this in a message on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of the Founding of the Lao PDR, which takes place today.

“In terms of the bilateral relations that exist between the Lao PDR and Brunei Darussalam, we highly value the friendly relations and good cooperation that exist between our two countries, and as a diplomat working here, I would like to express my sincere and profound gratitude for good cooperation, contributions and assistance that have been extended by the Government of Brunei Darussalam and its people to Lao PDR to this day,” he said.

“Since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Lao PDR and Brunei Darussalam in 1993, both our countries have regularly exchanged visits, particularly among officials, senior officials and high-level ranking delegations.”

“Most notably, this year marked another remarkable milestone where Prime Minister of the Lao PDR Thongloun Sisoulith, successfully paid an Official Visit to Brunei Darussalam on the invitation of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.”

File photo shows His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam with Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) Prime Minister Dr Thongloun Sisoulith during the latter’s visit to Brunei. Also seen in the photo are His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen. PHOTO: INFOFOTO
His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam with Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) Prime Minister Dr Thongloun Sisoulith. PHOTO: INFOFOTO
Ambassador of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to Brunei Darussalam Phonethavy Boutdara. PHOTO: EMBASSY OF LAOS IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

The ambassador highlighted that the visit contributed to enhancing the friendly relations and good cooperation between the two countries and, at the same time, the results of the visit laid the foundations to further develop to higher level bilateral relations in the future.

“On this auspicious occasion of the 44th anniversary of the Founding of the Lao PDR on December 2, may I take this opportunity to extend my best wishes for a great success, longevity and prosperity to His Majesty and Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam and to all royal family members, the Government as well as the people of Brunei.

“I firmly believe that through our joint effort, Lao PDR and Brunei Darussalam’s good friendship and cooperation will further grow under the guidance of our two countries’ leaders,” he highlighted.

“May Brunei Darussalam continue to enjoy peace, stability and well-being among its people and may Lao PDR and its people too, enjoy prosperity, peace and happiness. May the friendship and good cooperation between Lao PDR-Brunei Darussalam continue to be strengthened,” he added.

The ambassador shared that, over the past 44 years, Lao PDR has shown progress in various areas, recording a rapid development in every sector.

“The Lao PDR has been enjoying firm political stability, a safe and orderly society in basic term as well as sustained economic growth with a considerable gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate, recording a 6.4 per cent for the year 2019.”

“Additionally, its average gross national income (GNI) per capita has steadily increased, the people’s livelihood has been continuously improved, and the rule of law has been constantly promoted,” he said. “Lao PDR continues to broaden external relations and international cooperation by adhering to the foreign policy of peace, independence, friendship and cooperation, and currently, it has established diplomatic relations with 143 countries around the world.”

He highlighted that the Lao PDR has been working on various measures to further improve the country’s growth while taking measures to overcome the challenges and difficulties the country is facing, especially the recent events of heavy rainfall and severe flooding that struck many regions across the country resulting in landslides, loss of lives and damage of properties.

Meanwhile, to further ensure its integration and connectivity with its neighbouring countries, the Lao PDR is developing its infrastructure, which includes the ongoing Lao PDR-China railway project, national highways, airports and logistics.

Among other measures of progress than can be seen are the infant mortality rates decreased more than half since last year and continuous rise in school enrolment and literacy rate, which are simultaneously propelling the Lao PDR towards achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

“The Lao PDR is continuing the implementation of the 8th Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2016-2020), with the vision to remove its status of being a least developed country in the near future and targetting to be an upper middle-income country by 2030,” said the ambassador.

He noted that, last year, the Lao PDR presented its first Voluntary National Review and during the first phase, the global SDG indicators were adopted and localised, especially those considered relevant to our National Development context.

“More than 60 per cent of the global SDG indicators have been mainstreamed into the 8th Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2016-2020, while the remaining SDG indicators along with relevant sectoral strategies will continue to be integrated into the next 9th Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2021-2025, to ensure that they are fully integrated, taking into account our national development priorities.”

The ambassador also shared that tourism is one of the important economic sectors that contributes significantly to the country’s socio-economic development. “Hence, ‘Visit Laos Year 2018’ was launched last year as an initiative to boost the country’s market to attract more tourists and it had successfully resulted in 4.2 million foreign tourist arrivals.

“For this year, ‘Visit Laos-China Year 2019’ campaign was launched, with the aim to attract one million Chinese tourists and about 4.5 million visitors overall. Whereas, in July this year, the Plain of Jars (Xiengkhuang Province) has become the third Lao UNESCO World Heritage site, after Luang Prabang inscribed in 1995, and Vat Phou (Champasak province) in southern Laos listed in 2002,” he added.