Foreign Minister Kono Visits the Lao PDR
April 7, 2018
On April 7, H.E. Mr. Taro Kano, Minister for Foreign Affairs, who is visiting the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, held a meeting and joint press announcement with H.E. Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao PDR, in the capital Vientiane, and also paid courtesy calls on H.E. Dr. Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister of the Lao PDR, and H.E. Dr. Phankham Viphavanh, Vice President of the Lao PDR. The overview is as follows.
Japan-Lao PDR Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Joint Press Announcement
- Minister Kono stated that he hopes to accelerate cooperation on specific projects under the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy," and in particular, accelerate cooperation on expanding the terminals at Wattay International Airport, on improving connectivity between Hanoi and Vientiane, and in the field of unexploded ordnance disposal. Minister Saleumxay responded that the Lao PDR intends to work closely with Japan.
- In addition, Minister Saleumxay welcomed Minister Kono's first visit to the Lao PDR, and expressed his gratitude for the support of Japan which has been extended for many years. In response, Minister Kono expressed his appreciation for the Government of the Lao PDR's warm welcome. Minister Kono explained that the Japan-Lao PDR Joint Development Cooperation Plan for the Sustainable Development of Lao PDR that was agreed upon in 2016 is obtaining a large number of results, and Japan intends to continue to contribute to the development of the Lao PDR by invigorating distribution and the movement of people with neighboring countries. Minister Kono also explained that Japan seeks to cooperate on developing waterworks, waste disposal and electric power systems in the Lao PDR. Minister Kono stated that the National Defense Academy of Japan celebrated the first Lao graduate at a recent graduation ceremony, and hopes to pursue cooperation on defense exchanges.
- In addition, the two foreign ministers also held a frank exchange of views on challenges in the regional and international issues, including North Korea and the South China Sea.
- Following the bilateral meeting, the two foreign ministers held a joint press announcement.
Courtesy call on Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith
- Prime Minister Thongloun stated that the fact that Minister Kono's visit to the Lao PDR on the occasion of "Visit Laos Year 2018" is evidence of the importance that Minister Kono attaches to the Lao PDR.
In response, Minister Kono stated that assistance for stabilization of the Lao PDR's finance, which was previously requested by Prime Minister Thongloun, is steadily implemented, and he intends to promote cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the two countries through events such as the Laos Festival in Tokyo.
- In addition, Prime Minister Thongloun and Minister Kono also held a frank exchange of views on challenges in the regional and international issues, including North Korea and the South China Sea.
Courtesy Call on Vice President Phankham Viphavanh
- Vice President Phankham expressed his gratitude for the multilayered support extended by the Government and people of Japan thus far. He explained that in particular, he wants to strengthen the bilateral relationship so that it grows grandly like the cherry trees that were planted in his hometown, Houaphanh Province.
In response, Minister Kono expressed congratulations that the Lao PDR comfirmed the eligibility for the first time to graduate from Least Developed Country (LDC) category in a United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP) review last month. He stated that Vice President Phankham has been working on exchanges with Japan since his time as Minister of Education and Sports, explained that in the field of education, the project for improving teaching and learning mathematics for primary education is in progress and the project to build secondary schools is also continuing, and stated that he intends to strive to improve the Lao PDR's education environment and enhance the quality of education.
- The two sides also highly appreciated that cooperation between the two countries is moving ahead in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Minister Kono stated that he is looking forward to welcoming the Lao athletes in Tokyo in 2020.