Thank you for your warm hospitality. I am very pleased to meet President Bounnhang, who has devoted his life to the development of Laos.
Marking the 25th anniversary of the reestablishment of diplomatic ties next year, our two countries are currently working together more closely than at any time before. Cooperation in the Mekong region is bringing us closer. This state visit to Laos is all the more meaningful for me coming as it does ahead of the Mekong-Korea Summit to be held in Korea in November, a new milestone in Korea-Mekong collaboration.
Laos is a resource-rich country with such great growth potential that it is called ASEAN’s logistics hub and battery. In addition, fueled by President Bounnhang’s Vision 2030 policy and Five-year National Socio-economic Development Plan, the country is now achieving high economic growth. I pay tribute to President Bounnhang for his outstanding leadership.
Korea hopes to establish a people-centered community of peace and prosperity together with ASEAN member states that have unlimited growth potential. It also looks forward to achieving mutual prosperity with Laos through the harmonious pursuit of its national development plan and Korea's New Southern Policy.
President Bounnhang helped write a new chapter in the history of bilateral relations in 2002 when he made the highest level visit to Korea from Laos as the Prime Minister. He visited North Korea as well and has acted as a bridge between the two Koreas. He has also consistently supported the Korean Government’s effort to bring about peace on the Korean Peninsula. I’d like to extend my gratitude for that.
I hope that the summit today will further solidify trust between the peoples of our two countries and strengthen our partnership for mutual prosperity even more.