The event was co-chaired by Lieutenant General Nguyen Tien Long, Deputy Chief of the Mission’s Liaison Board, and Major General Pham Van Huan, Editor-in-Chief of the People’s Army Newspaper. At the seminar, participants highlighted the power of the special Vietnam-Laos relationship and solidarity and the role of the Mission of Vietnamese Volunteer Soldiers and Experts.

At the seminar

Seventy years ago, on October 30, 1949, the Standing Board of the Central Committee of the Indochina Communist Party decided that the armed forces of Vietnam must strengthen combat operations and work to help the Lao forces carry out their revolution and form their own armed forces. The force responsible for providing Vietnam’s support for Laos was called the Vietnamese volunteer soldiers.

President Ho Chi Minh once said, “Helping Laos means helping ourselves.” He also stressed, “Vietnam can only be liberated completely when Laos has been liberated.” Following his guidance, from the very early days of the revolution and after the establishment of the Vietnam Communist Party, both Vietnamese and Lao communists were trained to deeply understand their vanguard role and duties towards the two countries’ revolutions. As a result, the people and armed forces of the two countries stayed shoulder to shoulder and defeated the two invasion wars waged by the French colonialists and the US imperialists.

During those fierce days, the Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts helped the Laos forces build political foundations, strengthened armed forces, and developed revolutionary bases. The support contributed positively to the vigorous development of the Lao forces with the application of the people’s warfare in the resistance war.

Shouldering difficulties in the war, deep down in the hearts of all veterans of the Mission always live profound memories of those hard but emotional days, when they shared with each other the last seed of rice and the last drop of water. Their sentiments and high determination have partly helped make miracle come true. An amazing system of historic roads named the Ho Chi Minh Trail was built in that solidarity spirit, contributing importantly to the resounding victories of the three nations of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

Presentations at the seminar also looked into the contributions of the Mission. In details, during the two resistance wars against the common enemies, the Mission sent nearly 460,000 soldiers and officials to the Lao theater. A lot of the sent personnel laid down their lives while fighting side by side with the Lao forces. The contributions of the Vietnamese volunteer servicemen and civilian experts, especially those who had sacrificed their lives there, to the achievements of the Lao revolution and to the homeland of Vietnam were great. A good number of the martyrs are still lying out there in the land of Laos. The Vietnam People’s Army, therefore, has been actively conducting the search and repatriation of the martyrs’ remains to their homeland. During the repatriation of the remains, search and collection teams have also recorded moving stories and received wholehearted support from the Lao people and some of the stories were shared at the seminar.

At present, Vietnam and Laos often coordinate closely and support each other in dealing with regional and international issues, contributing actively to maintaining peace, stability, cooperation and development of the region and the world. Vietnam is the third biggest investor in Laos with 411 active projects worth totally USD 4 billion. Vietnam has always paid special attention to helping Laos in its economic development and invested in the construction of a lot of projects and buildings. Especially, Vietnam has funded for the construction of the Lao National Assembly building, which was recently put into operation. Apart from that, the two sides paid special attention to enhancing the quality and effectiveness of cooperation in such areas as education, human resource development, transportation, science and technology, defense and security, and more.

Opinions at the seminar also stressed the need of enhancing people-to-people diplomacy and education of the good tradition of the Vietnam-Laos bonds for younger generations of the two countries. The participants held that education of the tradition with emphasis on the historical pride and the significance of the special relationship between Laos and Vietnam serves to help younger generations better understand their responsibilities in inheriting and further promoting the invaluable and treasurable relationship that the previous generations of the two countries successfully built with hardships.

The seminar agreed that the achievements recorded over the past 70 years of the Vietnam-Laos combat alliance have once more reaffirmed the special Vietnam-Laos relationship, which is second to none in the world. The history has witnessed ups and downs over the 70 past years, but the impartial friendship and solidarity between the two nations have remained unchanged; they even have been upheld and will surely be fostered forever by generations of Vietnamese and Lao people.

Translated by Huu Duong