Japan-Laos Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
On June 7, commencing at 2:05 p.m. for approximately 40 minutes, Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held a Japan-Laos Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with H.E. Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), who is visiting Japan. The overview of the meeting is as follows.
Welcoming the visit of Minister Saleumxay to Japan, Minister Kishida expressed his pleasure to meet him again following a meeting in Vientiane in July last year. Minister Kishida stated that the Japan-Mekong Connectivity Initiative has steadily been moving ahead and the Project for Improvement of the National Road Route 9, which he signed with Minister Saleumxay last year, is progressing favorably. Minister Kishida also valued that the Lao PDR successfully led the ASEAN-related meetings last year as the chair country, and once again expressed his respect for Minister Saleumxay’s leadership.
In response, Minister Saleumxay stated that he is very happy to meet Minister Kishida for the third time since being appointed as Minister. On behalf of the Government of the Lao PDR, Minister Saleumxay expressed his gratitude to Minister Kishida and Japan’s enormous support for the Lao PDR as the ASEAN chair last year. Minister Saleumxay promised to promote the strategic partnership between Japan and the Lao PDR.
2. Bilateral relations
Minister Kishida explained that as a “strategic partner”, Japan is supporting the Lao PDR to graduate from Least Developed Countries (LDC) by 2020, and intended to continue to cooperate to embody the Japan-Lao PDR Joint Development Cooperation Plan. Minister Kishida mentioned that Japan will invite the Lao people who are involved in the removal of unexploded ordnance next month and provide training. Minister Kishida also explained that Japan has recently decided to support young administrative officials from the Lao PDR studying abroad, and also stated that the “Innovative Asia” program, which contribute to the development of highly-skilled human resources in the Lao PDR will begin from this year. Minister Kishida expressed the view that Japanese companies establishing businesses in the Lao PDR are significantly contributing to the country’s development, and requested the Lao PDR continue cooperating in improving the environment of investment environment in order to encourage further investment.
In response, Minister Saleumxay noted that Japan is the largest donor of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Lao PDR, and highly appreciated the support from the Government and Japanese people for the Lao PDR to realize its goal of graduating from Least Developed Countries (LDC) status by 2020, expressing gratitude for a steady growth of the investment on behalf of the Lao government and its people. Minister Saleumxay welcomed Japanese companies, and their strong interest in the Lao PDR. Minister Saleumxay also stated that the Government of the Lao PDR will cooperate to improve the investment environment. Furthermore, Minister Saleumxay was grateful for Japan’s cooperation with the removal of unexploded ordnance and cooperation as well as the development of highly-skilled human resources.He also expressed his gratitude for the activities of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers in the Lao PDR.
3. Cooperation in the regional and international arenas
In addition, the two ministers exchanged views on challenges in the regional and international arenas, including the issue of South China Sea and the North Korea. Both ministers shared concerns about the situation in North Korea, and Minister Kishida stated that the international community should unite to increase pressure on North Korea, which constitutes a new level of threat. The two sides shared the view that fulfilling the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions (PDF) is important. In addition, they confirmed that they will collaborate to promptly resolve the abductions issue.