Ambassador of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and Mrs. Manilath Keodalavong hosted a reception at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Dec. 2, 2015 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Founding of the their country and the 20th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Laos. Many Korean and international dignitaries attended the reception, who included National Assemblyman Kim Jae-won of the ruling Saenuri (New World) Party who concurrently headed the Korean-Laotian Parliamentary Friendship Association.
From the international community came many distinguished guests such as the envoys and senior diplomats who included Ambassadors Zulfiqur Rahman of Bangladesh, Dato Paduka Haji ModhRosli Bin Haji Sabtu of Brunei Darussalam, Suth Dina of Cambodia, Tito Saul Pinilla Pinilla of Colombia, Dato Rohanabinti Ramli of Malaysia, Myo Taant Pe of Myanmar (CDA), Raul S. Hernandez of the Philippines, Yip Wei Kiat of Singapore, Kiromov Salohiddin of Tajikistan (CDA), Mark W. Lippert of the United States, Huu Chi Pham of Vietnam and Mumba Smyth Kapumpa of Zambia.
Speaking to the guests, Ambassador Keodalavong said: “The Lao PDR and the Republic of Korea are enhancing and expanding various bilateral economic cooperation. The trade volume between the two countries is increasing year by year.Korean Investment in the Lao PDR is now ranks 4th among the largest Foreign Direct Investment countries. After operation direct flight between our two countries and one side visa exemption for Korean nationals by the Government of Laos, the number of Korean tourist has been increasing. More than 104.000 Korean visitors visited Laos last year. (See excerpts.)
There were beautiful performances of traditional dances of Laos by Laotian young men and women. The beautifully adorned costumes and headdresses worn by the performers greatly attracted the attention of the Korean and international guests.
Excerpts from the welcome remarks by Amb.Khamsouay:
My warmest welcome you all to this significant event this evening. It is the 40th Anniversary of the Founding of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Lao PDR and the Republic of Korea.
I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks and high appreciation for your valuable time and your presence here to join us in this important and meaningful ceremony today.
The Lao PDR is one of the long history countries in the world. At the beginning of Christian era, the Lao primitive peoples lived and later established community in the Mekong River region. In 14th Century, after unification, Laos was named as Lane Xang Kingdom. It was one of the biggest Kingdoms in Southeast Asia at that time. But however, from the 18th Century the country faced a lot of difficulties in protecting our country and people. It fell into the occupation under many foreign intruders in many decades and faced a lot of impact from Indochina war and Civil war. Many decades have passed but Lao people never give up fighting for our Nation’s independence. Eventually, we could achieve our goal and established the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on 2 December 1975.
Although Indochina war ended four decades ago, the legacy of war still continue to pose serious obstacles to our national development, especially to the agriculture production, the livelihood of the people and development of infrastructure as well as to the investment in the area of UXOs contaminate. The clearance of UXOs as remnants of war will still take some more decades and requires huge resources.
Over the past four decades, the Lao PDR has gone through a period of healing the wounds of war and advancing the national development through the implementation of every Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plans. The achievement made during the past 40 years are attributed to many factors, but the most crucial ones are political stability and social order. This has provided conductive environment for economic growth and steadily improving the livelihood of the Lao multi-ethnic people.
The Lao PDR actively participate and cooperate with international community closely, including bilateral and multilateral cooperation and accessed to various international organizations. For the bilateral cooperation, up to date, we have established diplomatic relations with 138 countries and we are continuing to expand more. The Lao PDR successfully hosted various significant international meetings such as, ASEAN-EU meeting, 10th ASEAN Summit, 9th ASEM, AIPA and so on. Next year, the Lao PDR will be ASEAN Chairmanship and will host numbers of meeting including ASEAN Summit and some more different level related meetings.
The Lao PDR has a lot of potential in economic development, particularly hydro-electricity, mining, agriculture production, eco-tourism and some other fields. The Government has set clear targets of average economic growth of at least 7.5% per year and average annual income per capital in 2015 is 1500 USD, however as of today we already achieved per capital income of 1857 USD. The Lao Government has maintained its unwavering political will to fight against poverty, create prerequisites for lifting the country from the LDC status by 2020 and pursue the path of sustainable development, while enhancing its cooperation with development partners which will pave the way for industrialization and modernization of the country. Nevertheless, it is recognized that the Lao PDR will continue to face numerous challenges in the process of its socio-economic development. These include, among others, impact of regional and global economic and financial crisis, and natural disasters. Our Government, therefore, calls upon the development partners including the Republic of Korea to continue rendering their support to the Lao PDR to achieve our goal of sustainable development in the coming years.
This year 2015 marks the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Lao PDR and the Republic of Korea. After the establishment on 25 October 1995, the relationship and cooperation between our two countries have been continuously expanded. I am glad to observe that, in the past two decades our friendly relations and the cooperation between our two countries have been fruitfully and steadily developed. The exchange visit between our high level government officials have taken place continuously. Particularly, the official visit to the Republic of Korea by H.E. Choummaly Sayasone, President of Lao PDR in November, 2013. The two Heads of State met and agreed on various important issues including grant aid and soft loans to the Lao PDR. The Republic of Korea also agreed to further assist in the area of human resource development, provide support and sharing experiences in rural development under SaemaulUndong policy. The Lao PDR recognized SaemaulUndong as an effective rural development program that is similar to the Lao Government’s 3 builds policy(Sam Sang Policy) to strengthen and develop local administration.
The Lao PDR and the Republic of Korea are enhancing and expanding various bilateral economic cooperation. The trade volume between the two countries is increasing year by year.Korean Investment in the Lao PDR is now ranks 4th among the largest Foreign Direct Investment countries. After operation direct flight between our two countries and one side visa exemption for Korean nationals by the Government of Laos, the number of Korean tourist has been increasing. More than 104.000 Korean visitors visited Laos last year.
The Republic of Korea’s ODA is very important and contribute a lot to the socio-economic development in the Lao PDR, now Ranks 3rd among the largest ODA providers.
In this regard, on behalf of the Government of the Lao PDR, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Government and people of the Republic of Korea for providing such valuable assistance and I do hope that they will continue to support in the future.
On this auspicious occasion, may I wish the friendly relations between the Lao PDR and the Republic of Korea further develop to a new height and more and more closer for the mutual benefit for our two peoples.
Once again, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Honorable KIM Jae-won and all distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen for your valuable time and joining us this evening. May I take this opportunity to wish you all very good health, happiness and achieve a greater success in your careers and your lives in the coming new year 2016.