Laos, Indonesia ink five agreements during PM’s Visit
JAKARTA (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Laos and Indonesia have committed to work together with five agreements signed on the occasion of Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith’s visit to Indonesia yesterday.
Documents were signed following a bilateral meeting between Lao delegation led by PM Thongloun Sisoulith and the Indonesian side led by President Joko Widodo.
Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed on higher education cooperation and basic education as well as drug control issues.
The two countries also signed an MoU on petrol and lignite purchase and sale between Petroleum Trading Lao Public Company and PT Batubara Selaras Sapta of Indonesia.
An MoU on cooperation between Lao and Indonesian chambers of commerce and industry was also inked.
PM Thongloun and his delegation were visiting Indonesia from October 11 to 12 at the invitation of President Joko Widodo.
The Prime Ministerial visit aims to broaden and strengthen the longstanding friendship and bilateral cooperation as well as mark the occasion of 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two South-East Asian nations.
During the meeting held at Bogor Presidential Palace in West Java, Indonesia, both sides congratulated each other on achievements and expressed high evaluations of the development of relations and friendly cooperation.
Both sides confirmed plans to continue mutual support via regional and global platforms, while continuing to facilitate exchange visits by their respective delegations at various levels.
Leaders of two nations also agreed to continue cooperation in the areas of economics and trade, investment, education and culture, health, telecommunications and communications, sports, tourism and other sectors.
PM Thongloun expressed thanks to the Indonesian President and government for the warm welcome.
He welcomed Indonesia’s support for Laos in human resource building and in the chairing of the 28th and 29th Asean Summits in Vientiane last year.
PM Thongloun also extended an invitation to President Joko Widodo to visit Laos.
During the two-day visit to Indonesia, PM Thongloun also attended the Laos-Indonesia business forum and visited Indonesian Trade Expo 2017 in Banten.
President Joko Widodo thanked Laos for supporting Indonesia’s successful bid for election to the UNESCO council and other international bodies, particularly at the United Nations, over previous years.
A source from the Indonesian Embassy to Laos said talks about a direct flight between the two countries were under way and it was hoped that flights could begin soon. Direct flights could boost economic development, investment and trade as well as increase the flow of visitors.
In 2015 just over 2,000 Lao tourists visited Indonesia with the most popular destination being Bali.
Besides Bali, Jogjakarta is also an increasingly popular tourist destination for Lao travellers, being home to the world’s largest Buddhist temple complex, Candi Borobudur.
Last year, the number of tourists from Laos visiting Indonesia was about 1,300, while the number of Indonesian visitors to Laos exceeded 4,000.
Two-way trade, which the embassy source said continued to grow steadily, reached about US$10 million last year, an increase of 17.7 percent compared to 2015.
Of this amount, Lao exports to Indonesia comprised US$4 million while imports were valued at US$6 million.
Indonesian investment in Laos was worth more than US$1 million, with various projects in the fields of agriculture, tourism, and human resource development.