Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and former Laotian Foreign Minister Thoungloun Sisoulith during a bilateral meeting in Vientiane on January 2016. (Photo courtesy of Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Indonesia, Laos Celebrate 60 Years of Diplomatic Ties


JULY 20, 2017

Jakarta. Laos' Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith is due to visit Jakarta on July 26-29, where he and Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi will attend the fifth Indonesia-Laos Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation, or JCBC, meeting, while observing the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations.

"This is the fifth Indonesia-Laos JCBC meeting ... is also a special event for the 60th anniversary of Indonesia-Laos relations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said during a press briefing in Jakarta on Thursday (20/07).

Arrmanatha added that the ministers will touch on various issues, including cooperation in political affairs, defense and security, as well as the economy.

"They will also focus on the current global and regional situation," Arrmanatha said.

Indonesia and Laos are both members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

According to the ministry's newly appointed director general for Southeast Asia, Denny Abdi, JCBC is a comprehensive forum in which the two countries will discuss ways to improve and increase cooperation.

"The success of Asean is in producing strong bilateral ties between its member states," Denny said.

Strengthening Cooperation

Indonesia seeks to strengthen economic cooperation with Laos also with a more concrete agreement.

"We are currently working on a partnership in which Pupuk Kujang will import potassium from Laos," Denny told reporters.

According to Denny, Pupuk Kujang needs around 70,000 tons of potassium – one of the basic ingredients to produce fertilizers – every year. The company has been importing the chemical from Canada and Russia, but is seeking to cut costs by 30 percent with the possible imports from Laos.

"They [Pupuk Kujang] have imported around 500 tons for trial and reported that the quality of Laotian potassium is satisfactory," Denny said, adding that Kommasith's visit will include a trip to Pupuk Kujang's plant.

Kommasith is also scheduled to visit the ministry's center that trains Asean diplomats.

The regional partners are set to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations with a series of events spearheaded by the embassies in Jakarta and Vientiane.