Ties with Laos continue to grow: President Tan

Dr Tan laying a wreath at the Unknown Soldier Monument, a memorial to Laos' war dead, yesterday.
Dr Tan laying a wreath at the Unknown Soldier Monument, a memorial to Laos' war dead, yesterday.PHOTO: MCI

Singapore and Laos are close neighbours and friends, and the relations between both countries continue to grow, said President Tony Tan Keng Yam last night.

At a state banquet hosted by Lao President Bounnhang Vorachit, Dr Tan, who is in Laos for a state visit, said: "As a close neighbour, friend and fellow Asean member, Singapore will continue to work closely with Laos, both bilaterally and within Asean, to further broaden and deepen our relationship."

Speaking in Laotian, Mr Bounnhang said Laos had received assistance from Singapore in many areas, and welcomed more exchanges between the leaders and people of both countries.

The two countries established diplomatic ties in 1974, and Singapore was Laos' 18th-largest investor from 2011 to 2015.

An avoidance of double taxation agreement signed between both countries came into effect at the start of the year, making it easier for companies to do business.

On the connectivity front, SilkAir launched three weekly flights between Singapore, Vientiane and Luang Prabang. There are now flights almost every day between Singapore and the Lao capital of Vientiane. Dr Tan will take a SilkAir flight home from Luang Prabang, Laos' former royal capital, where he wraps up his state visit on Saturday.

Laos is the fourth-largest recipient of Singapore's technical assistance - after Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia - under the Singapore Cooperation Programme. More than 12,300 Lao government officials have taken part in the programme. They include Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, who will host Dr Tan to lunch today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2017, with the headline 'Ties with Laos continue to grow: President Tan'. Print Edition | Subscribe