Strong foundations reinforce Brunei-Lao PDR ties

Danial Norjidi

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) and Brunei Darussalam enjoy strong bilateral relations and good cooperation.

Ambassador of the Lao PDR to Brunei Darussalam Phonethavy Boutdara (pic bottom) lauded the ties between the two countries in a message conveyed on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Founding of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, which takes place today.

The envoy said, “We highly value the friendly relations and good cooperation that exist between our two countries.”

“Since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the Lao PDR and Brunei Darussalam in 1993, both our countries have regularly exchanged visits, particularly among officials, senior officials and high-level ranking delegations. The visits of our two countries’ leaders have contributed to the enhancement of the friendly relations and good cooperation between both countries and at the same time, laid the foundations to further develop higher level bilateral relations in the future.

“I firmly believe that under the leadership 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, Brunei Darussalam will successfully implement its Brunei Vision 2035 to turn Brunei Darussalam into a developed and prosperous country as well as increase the country’s role and position in the regional and international forums, especially Brunei’s ASEAN Chairmanship 2021.”

The ambassador also noted the rapid development of Lao PDR over the past 45 years in all sectors.

“The country continues to enjoy firm political stability, social order and steady economic growth. Public management and administration have also been conducted on the laws and regulations of the country. All of these important factors contribute in creating favourable conditions and an enabling environment for the national development and improvement of the people’s livelihood in a steady manner, and to keep on leading the country towards graduation from the least developed country (LDC) status in the future.”

He said, “This year, the Lao PDR faced a number of development challenges due to the impact of natural disasters; most recently the widespread flooding across the country, and COVID-19 pandemic that significantly affected the economic growth and social development, refraining the government to achieve some of its goals, particularly in the revenue collection target and efforts to curb inflation.”

“However, with great effort and cooperation made by the Lao Government and its people, the country managed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and bounced back to strive to project the economic growth continuing this year.”

The ambassador noted that the agriculture sector of the country is expected to grow by 2.3 per cent this year, representing 16.6 per cent of GDP, while the industry sector is forecast to grow by 9.8 per cent, accounting to 33 per cent of GDP. The growth in the service sector, however, is expected to contract by 1.6 per cent, representing to 39.5 per cent of GDP.

Over the past nine months, the value of exports reported was USD4.27 billion, which equals to 70.8 per cent of the revised plan for 2020 while the value of imports reached USD3.82 billion, corresponding to 64.68 per cent of the year 2020’s target.

He added that many big projects in Lao PDR have undergone constructions recently such as the Laos-China Railway, expected to be operated in 2021; the Vientiane-Vangvieng expressway, which will be open in December as part of the industrial promotion, particularly the processing industry which includes facilitating goods transport and cross border shipment; and the development of industrial parks and dry ports.

“These projects are part of the Lao government’s effort to turn the country from land lock to land link country,” said the envoy.

The ambassador also affirmed that, for its relations with other countries, the Lao PDR will continue to broaden its external relations and international cooperation by adhering to the foreign policy of peace, independence, friendship and cooperation.

The envoy noted that Lao PDR has established diplomatic relations with 143 countries. In the regional and international context, he said, the Lao PDR will continue to support commitments and efforts of ASEAN promotion of peace, stability and security of the region, ASEAN Dialogue Partnership, and cooperation with other countries.

“On this auspicious occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Founding of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, I would like to extend my best wishes to the peace and prosperity of the Lao PDR, and the well-being of the Lao people. Best wishes to the friendship and cooperation between Lao PDR and Brunei Darussalam,” he said.