Thai Defence Minister visits Lao PDR

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BANGKOK, Jan 5 – Thai Defence Minister Gen Yuthasak Sasiprapa departed Bangkok Thursday to visit the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) to boost bilateral military ties between the two neighbouring countries.

The two-day trip on Jan 5-6 is the minister’s first trip to the Lao PDR since taking office to introduce himself to regional leaders and counterparts. During the official visit, Gen Yuthasak is scheduled to meet Lao Prime Minister Tongsing Tammawong and Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of National Defence Lt-Gen Douangchay Phichit and to lay a wreath at the Unknown Soldier’s Monument in Vientiane, the capital.

Apart from introducing himself to the regional leaders, Gen Yuthasak said before leaving Thailand that this visit was aimed at strengthening and fostering bilateral ties and cooperation between the defence ministries of the two countries.

The Thai defence minister added that he will discuss preparations for the Thai-Lao PDR General Border Committee (GBC) meeting, which has not been held since 2010. Other issues on the agenda include  border demarcation, which was currently 98 per cent completed, as well as the patrol along the Mekong River to prevent illegal labour trafficking, drug smuggling and robberies along the international waterway.

The Thai minister will also take this opportunity to discuss a plan to develop the so-called Emerald Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, the Lao PDR and Cambodia meet, to be a tourism hub and to build a golf course in order to benefit the people of the three countries.