VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Laos and Vietnam have agreed to accelerate the development of transport infrastructure, pledging to work together to complete a study on a railway project linking the two countries.
The agreement was reached at the annual bilateral ministerial meeting held in Hanoi on August 22 when Lao Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong and Vietnamese Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang held talks, Vietnamese media reported on August 23.
Both sides affirmed close cooperation in all aspects of the transport sector, Vietnamnet and Nhan Dan reported on their websites.
They agreed to promote transport infrastructure connectivity between the two countries through the early signing of the Vietnam-Laos Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperative strategy in transport from 2016-25 with visions towards 2030, and the opening of a transnational transport route connecting Vietnam's Ha Tinh with Khammuan province in Laos and Nakhon Phanom province in Thailand.
They pledged to promptly complete studies into investment in a railway linking Vientiane and Thakhaek district (Laos) and Mu Gia-Tan Ap and Vung Ang (Vietnam), while closely working on a prefeasibility study for a highway between Vientiane and Pakxan district in Laos and Thanh Thuy in Vietnam.
Earlier this year, the government of the Republic of Korea provided US$3 million (more than 24 billion kip) to be used for the feasibility study of the Vientiane–Thakhaek and Mu Gia-Tan Ap–Vung Ang rail project, according to information provided by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
A technical official from the Lao Railway Authority said the timeframe for completion of the feasibility study was still unclear.
During his visit to Vietnam, Dr Bounchanh on behalf of the Lao government presented a first class Independent Order to the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport, a second class Independent Order to the Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang and a first class Labour Order to Deputy Minister Le Dinh Tho in recognition of their contribution to the development of two countries' transport sectors, according to Vietnamese media.