The Vietnam - Laos relationship is the one between comrades, brothers which is long-lasting, exemplary, faithful, pure; an invaluable asset constantly nurtured by generations of leaders and people of both countries. During the past decades, the particular relationship between the two countries has been constantly cultivated, consolidated, with a deepened cooperation for development in all fields.
Traditional Friendship and Solidarity
Vietnam and Laos are close neighbors, sharing together Truong Son Mountain Range and the Mekong River, with a more-than-2,300km-long border. Looking back on history, since the Communist Party of Indochina was born, leading the revolutionary movement, the good traditional relationship, the loyalty between the two peoples which President Ho Chi Minh and President Kaysone Phomvihan laid the foundation for and the two Parties and people of the two countries have continued to consolidate has been strongly developed and increasingly deepened.
During the fight against the old colonialism, the two countries always stood by each other, sharing with each other both in the good time and the bad time. The anti-French resistance was ended, the two countries supported each other in the war against the USA. On September 5, 1962 Laos and Vietnam officially established diplomatic relations, opening a new chapter in the friendly relation and cooperation between the two countries and created favorable conditions for the two nations to coordinate actions against the common enemy, making contributions to bringing the revolution of the two countries victories in a row.
General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong and General Secretary and State President of Laos Bounnhang Vorachith (10/2019). Photo by VNA .
After 1975, the two countries entered a new era, the era of peace, independence and jointly building socialism. To elevate the special relationship of Vietnam - Laos, on July 18, 1977 the two governments signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, once again confirming the consistently special solidarity, providing the basis for the two countries to sign a series of cooperation agreements in the years later.
Before the changes in the region and the world, the solidarity, friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Laos have been unchanged, being developed on a deep foundation and getting closer with trust. Vietnam and Laos maintain frequent mutual visits by high-ranking leaders of the two countries, typically the official visit of General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party Bounnhang Vorachith to Vietnam (2016) and the visit of General Secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong to Laos (2016), Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visits to Laos (2017, 2018), Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith’s visit to Vietnam (2017), General Secretary cum State President of the People's Democratic Republic of Laos Bounnhang Vorachith visited Vietnam in 2018, General Secretary cum State President Nguyen Phu Trong visited Laos (2019). Visits by leaders of the two countries have facilitated the relationship between the two countries, Vietnam – Laos making contributions to consolidating political security and stability for socio-economic development.
So far, Vietnam's investment in Laos is worth nearly $4 billion, the two-way trade turnover has reached $8 million. In addition to the bilateral cooperation, the two sides have a lot of support for each other at multilateral forums - international and regional such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Organization for Economic Cooperation International Strategy (ACMECS), Mekong Sub-region (GMS) cooperation of four countries (CLMV) and so on.
Overall, through many ups and downs in history fighting against the common enemy in the past and in the construction and development of each country today, the two peoples have always stood side by side, faithdully united to defeat any plot by enemies in each period and to build a prosperous life for the people of both countries.
Dong Nai People with Laos
Along with the consolidation and development of the Vietnam – Laos ties in the entire country, Dong Nai people keep on hand to cultivate friendship with Laos. It is the establishment of relationship and support for economic development with Champasak Province and the establishment of Dong Nai Province’s Vietnam – Laos Friendship Association.
Founded in 2009, the Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association of Dong Nai Province (the Association) has had more than 1,500 members in 30 chapters and 2 inter-chapters at grassroots level. The majority of members are those who used to participate in the fighting or voluntary work in Laos. So the members have deep feelings for the native population and have become a bridge to promote relations of traditional friendship between Dong Nai and Laotian localities.
Over the years, the Association has many practical and meaningful activities such as together with a group of doctors in the province to give free medical care and medicine to people in Champasak Province, establishing a poetry club with the theme "Deeply nurtured Vietnam – Laos Friendship”; organizing Uncle Ho following journeys visiting old battlefields, sponsoring and giving gifts to Lao students studying in the province and so on.
Executive committee of Dong Nai’s Vietnam –Laos Friendship Association
In addition, Dong Nai Province has actively organized 13 missions to visit and work with local authorities in Laos which has resulted in a number of cooperation agreements signed with the Province of Champasak, including investment and trade promotion, market development, business cooperation, cooperation for development in the fields of industry, agriculture, services, tourism, science and technology, infrastructure, health, training and development of human resources.
The signed documents have created conditions for many businesses in Dong Nai Province to have their cooperation investment in Laos. Currently, Tin Nghia Company has one project planting coffee trees with a total investment capital of $ 7.7 million. Long Thanh Golf Investment Joint Stock Company has its investment in the fields of mineral exploration, golf courses and hotels with a total capital of $ 300 million. Dong Nai Rubber Corporation has its project in Oudomxay Province with an investment of totaling $6.7 million and so on.
In the field of education and human resource training, since 2011 Dong Nai Province has supported 168 scholarships with a total funding of VND40 billion to Champasak Province, including 96 students who have graduated and returned home to work, 72 students who are still studying in 6 universities, colleges and vocational schools in the province. In addition, the city of Bien Hoa has helped Pakse District in Champasak Province with the training of 6 Masters and 19 Bachelors.
Lao students studying in Dong Nai
Furthermore, Dong Nai Province has supported Laos with many social security projects such as health, water equipment, gifts to enhance the quality of life for people; and organized friendly events such as cultural exchange camps, traditional New Year Festival for Lao students; exchange program of cultural performances …These activities have contributed to enhancing understanding, as well as maintaining the special friendship and comprehensive cooperation of the two peoples.
At present, the world’s situation is complicated and unpredictable. The fact that big countries are trying to have their influences on other smaller countries will dominate the cooperative relationship between the two countries, Vietnam and Laos. It is now more necessary than ever to maintain and develop the bright and faithful relationship which has been thoroughly recognized by the Parties and people of the two countries. At the same time it is also necessary to cultivate, and maintain the friendship between Vietnam and Laos so that it will be evergreen and forever fresh like what was said by President Kaysone Phomvihan: "Mountain may be torn, rivers may be dried, but the Vietnam – Laos relationship will be existing longer than mountains and rivers.”
Luong Xuan Tuyen