Myanmar, Laos pledge to further friendly relations, close co-op (2)

10:54, July 12, 2011      

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Thongsing extended invitation to U Thein Sein to attend the Asia-Europe Summit slated for late November 2012 in Laos.

Thongsing, who arrived in the new capital on Monday on an official visit, also met with Vice President U Tin Aung Myint Oo, speaker of the Union Parliament U Khin Aung Myint and speaker of the House of Representatives U Shwe Mann.

Thongsing is paying the visit at the invitation of U Thein Sein.

Thongsing's trip represents the first one by a Lao leader after a new government was installed in Myanmar.

U Thein Sein, as then prime minister, visited Laos in 2007 initiating a memorandum of understanding on establishing sister cities between Myanmar's ancient city of Bagan and Laos' Luang Prabang which was signed in 2009.

In October last year, former Myanmar top leader Senior-General Than Shwe paid a state visit to Vientiane before Myanmar's general election in November and had touched on cooperation in economic and social sectors between the two countries, construction of the Myanmar-Laos-Vietnam motor road, joint building of the Myanmar-Laos Mekong River Friendship Bridge and anti-narcotic drives between the two countries.

The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on the setting up of the Lao-Myanmar Provincial Regional Border Committee.

Myanmar and Laos have also worked for promoting tourism as part of their bilateral cooperation, upgrading the two countries' respective border check points in January in 2007 to meet international standard to boost arrivals of world tourists and those from a third country visiting the two border areas.

These checkpoints are Wan Pong in Tachilek of Eastern Shan state on the Myanmar side and Ban Muang Mom on the Lao side. The Mekong River flows between the two towns as a border line.

In February 2009, regional border committee of the two countries at deputy foreign minister level met for the first time in Myanmar's border town of Tachilek in eastern Shan state to step up bilateral cooperation in dealing with border affairs.

In November 2009, Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith visited Myanmar, during which the two countries again signed two memorandums of understanding in Nay Pyi Taw respectively on mutual visa exemption for holders of ordinary passport and avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.

Sisoulith also attended the 9th meeting of the Myanmar-Lao Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation in Taunggyi, the capital of Myanmar's Shan state, discussing with the Myanmar side on matters relating to further strengthening and cooperation between the two countries as well as enhancing mutual cooperation at regional and international forums.

Myanmar and Laos, sharing a border of over 230 kilometers, established diplomatic relations in 1955.

The two countries marked the 55th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations in July last year.

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