Malaysia and Laos have expressed the desire to expand cooperation in training, investment, banking, finance, transportation, tourism, education and defence for mutual benefit.
This was emphasised at a meeting between Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman and visiting Laos Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith at Wisma Putra in Putrajaya today.
Anifah, in his welcoming remarks, expressed confidence that Kommasith's visit would be a productive one and strengthen Malaysia-Laos bilateral relations and cooperation.
He said it was hoped that Kommasith's visit to the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations in Kuala Lumpur would provide Laos some insight into the diplomatic training conducted there and courses useful for participants from Laos.
Kommasith, in his opening remarks, expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Malaysian government and people for their continuous efforts to help bring greater economic and social development in Laos.
"The five decades of cooperation between Malaysia and Laos have been very productive and brought about tangible benefits and outcomes to both countries," he said.
He also said that Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith looked forward to visiting Malaysia in May.
Wisma Putra, in a statement, said bilateral relations between Malaysia and Laos had been growing steadily over the years.
In 2016, it said, there was a significant improvement of 120 percent in Malaysia's total trade with Laos, which amounted to US$30.96 million (RM136.2 million) compared to US$14.03 million (RM61.73) in 2015.
"Laos is a significant regional partner for Malaysia, especially after it became a member of Asean in 1997," Wisma Putra said.