Laos, Philippines enhance bilateral ties

MANILA (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Laos and the Philippines improve bilateral ties at meeting in Manila. 

Laos and the Philippines have secured a new phase of bilateral ties, with the inaugural Laos-Philippines Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting taking place in Manila, Philippines, on July 13.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith led a delegation to attend the meeting and undertake a two-day visit to the Republic of the Philippines last week, at the invitation of Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

Saleumxay gave his view on the potential for the two countries to expand cooperation bilaterally, as well as within the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

“We always say that Asean family needs to enhance Asean cooperation. Asean is one of the biggest markets, ranking sixth in the world in terms of economic statistics,” Saleumxay told the Philippine News Agency.

According to a press release from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two sides highly valued the JCBC meeting, which they said would be a new step to forward and realise the bilateral cooperation in various sectors.

The two sides also agreed to continue the cooperation in politics, national defence and security, economics, public works and transport, education, in cultural-social sector, tourism, development cooperation, and the cooperation between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Laos and the Philippines.

Two sides highly valued the past visit of a delegation from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines to seek ways for investment cooperation in Laos.

Saleumxay said he was confident the inaugural Philippines-Laos Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation meeting would be a “turning point” for bilateral cooperation.

For his part, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano expressed his confidence that the two sides would come up with much more cooperation, collaboration and agreement when the they celebrated the anniversary of JCBC next year, and the people of Lao and the people of the Philippines would feel the benefits of this cooperation.

Saleumxay praised Alan Peter Cayetano on assuming the post of Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary, and thanked the government of the Philippines for supporting Laos’ chairmanship of Asean in 2016. He appreciated the success of the Philippines in hosting the 30th Asean Summit in May, and was confident that the Philippines would have success in the Asean chairmanship.

Cayetano also asked the assistance of Laos in furtherance of Asean centrality and the Asean way of “consensus and building brotherhood among our nations.”

After the meeting, Saleumxay and his Philippine counterpart witnessed the signing ceremony of a scholarship agreement.

“We want more scholarships and more programmes from both sides. So we want more Lao students to study here and look at opportunities,” Cayetano told the Philippine News Agency.