Minister of Foreign Affairs Chung Eui-yong had a meeting and an official dinner with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic Saleumxay Kommasith on August 28 during his official visit to the Lao PDR from August 28 to 29. The two Foreign Ministers exchanged in-depth views on ways for bilateral cooperation and major regional and global issues.
The two Foreign Ministers noted that Korea-Lao PDR relations have developed significantly in terms of trade, investment, ODA and people-to-people exchanges since the re-establishment of diplomatic ties in 1995, and agreed to work together actively in order to further strengthen bilateral cooperation.
The two Foreign Ministers agreed to actively promote mutual high-level exchanges, including visits of high-level Lao officials to Korea, as the COVID-19 situation permits, and to hold the 5th Korea-Lao PDR Policy Consultation at a mutually convenient time.
Foreign Minister Chung invited the Foreign and Defense Ministers of the Lao PDR to the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial to be held in Seoul from December 7 to 8, and asked the Lao government to enhance cooperation in the fields of national defense and defense industries on the basis of the MOU on Defense Cooperation signed between Korea and the Lao PDR last June.
The two Foreign Ministers shared the view that there is more room for improvement in Korea-Lao PDR cooperation on trade and investment, and agreed to actively seek concrete measures to expand bilateral trade and investment.
Foreign Minister Chung said that many Korean companies are interested in tapping into a geographical advantage of the Lao PDR, which seeks to become a land-linked country, and asked for active support of the Lao government to solve difficulties faced by Korean companies in the Lao PDR, in order to promote their investment to the Lao PDR.
Foreign Minister Saleumxay stressed that Korea ranks fifth in investment to the Lao PDR, and the Lao PDR will continue to carry out government-wide efforts to draw more participation and investment of Korean companies.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Chung asked for the Lao government’s special attention to Korean companies with abundant experiences and high technology to facilitate their participation in major infrastructure projects including the Luangprabang International Airport Development Project.
※The Lao government is working on the Luangprabang International Airport Development Project (estimated to be worth 100 billion won), and Korea Airports Corporation has been selected to lead a feasibility study on expanding the airport.
The two Foreign Ministers noted that the Korean government’s ODA to the Lao PDR has contributed to the socio-economic development of the Lao PDR, and agreed to continue ODA projects tailored to needs of the Lao PDR.
Foreign Minister Chung said that the Korean government will contribute to the achievement of the core objectives of the Lao PDR’s 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) 2021-2025 by continuing △the Integrated Rural Development Project with a Participatory Approach △the Project to Support the UXO (Unexploded Ordnance) Sector in the Lao PDR △Restoration and Conservation Capacity Building for Vat Phou–Hong Nang Sida World Heritage Site and △the health and medical infrastructure- and capacity-building project.
Foreign Minister Saleumxay appreciated that the Korean government’s grant aid and humanitarian assistance have contributed to the sustainable economic development of the Lao PDR, and reiterated gratitude for the EDCF loan of 50 million USD pledged by the Korean government during President Moon Jae-in’s state visit to the Lao PDR in 2019.
Foreign Minister Chung took note of the Lao government’s containment efforts of COVID-19, and said that the Korean government will continue to actively support the Lao government’s COVID-19 response.
Foreign Minister Saleumxay extended gratitude to the Korean government for providing medical supplies and services in the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, and looked forward to the two countries continuing to cooperate on COVID-19 response.
The two Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction with the volume of people-to-people exchanges between the two countries prior to COVID-19, which doubled in about 5 years (0.1 million in 2014 to 0.2 million in 2019), and agreed to seek measures to revitalize people-to-people exchanges as the COVID-19 situation permits.
Foreign Minister Chung explained difficulties faced by Korean businesses and residents in the Lao PDR under the COVID-19 situation and asked for continued attention of the Lao government.
※Foreign Minister Chung held a meeting with Korean business people and Korean residents in the Lao PDR on August 28 and delivered daily necessities such as rice, instant noodles, vitamins, etc.
Foreign Minister Chung extended gratitude to the Lao PDR for its consistent support for the Korean Peninsula Peace Process, and Foreign Minister Saleumxay reaffirmed support for the Korean government’s efforts to peacefully resolve the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue. (Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
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