Japan-Laos Foreign Ministers’ Working Dinner
March 7, 2018
On March 7, commencing at 7:10 p.m. for approximately 90 minutes, H.E. Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held a Japan–Laos Foreign Ministers’ Working Dinner with H.E. Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), who is visiting Japan to participate in the OECD Southeast Asia Regional Programme Ministerial Conference. The overview of the meeting is as follows:
Welcoming the visit of Minister Saleumxay to Japan, Minister Kono stated that he intends to further advance the “strategic partnership (PDF)” between the two countries and continue to advance cultural exchange and tourism promotion, taking into account the success of the Japan Festival in Vientiane last month. In response, Minister Saleumxay expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome for this visit as well as Japan’s long-standing assistance to the Lao PDR, and also stated that he will promote the friendly relationship between Japan and the Lao PDR in cooperation with Minister Kono.
2. Bilateral relations
Minister Kono explained that Japan intends to continue to cooperate to realize the Japan–Lao PDR Joint Development Cooperation Plan; for example, the “Wattay International Airport Terminal Expansion Project” is proceeding smoothly and the Japan–Mekong Transport Forum was held last week. Minister Kono also stated that fiscal stabilization is essential for the sustainable development of the Lao PDR, and Japan will cooperate with the Lao government to formulate the National Socio-economic Development Plan in the next five-year period. In addition, Minister Kono mentioned that Japan will cooperate in the fields of security and defense, and promote student exchanges and Japanese language education.
In response, Minister Saleumxay valued the continuous high-level visits between the two countries, the support from the government of Japan on behalf of the Lao government and its people, and also expressed gratitude for the expansion of investment by Japanese companies. Furthermore, Minister Saleumxay expressed his gratitude for Japan’s cooperation in the removal of unexploded ordnance and also its cooperation in the development of highly-skilled human resources. He expressed his appreciation for the activities of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers in the Lao PDR.
3. Cooperation in the regional and international arenas
Minister Kono requested that he would like the Lao government to cooperate in the promotion of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy”; Minister Saleumxay replied that he welcomed the initiative which contributes to regional development and hoped that many countries will understand this strategy. Furthermore, the two ministers exchanged views on challenges in the regional and international arenas, including the issue on the South China Sea.