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S. Korean, Laotian leaders celebrate anniversary of diplomatic ties in letters

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has exchanged congratulatory letters with his Laotian counterpart on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of reestablishing bilateral diplomatic ties, Cheong Wa Dae said Friday.

In his letter to Laotian President Bounnhang Vorachith, Moon noted that the two sides have developed friendly cooperation in various fields since 1995.

They forged formal diplomatic relations in 1974. South Korea severed diplomatic ties with Laos, which adopted communism, the following year and reestablished them in 1995.

Two-way trade volume increased to around $115 million last year from $10 million in 1996, with the number of visitors to each other totaling 220,000.

Moon pointed out, in particular, that South Korea and Laos have maintained "smooth cooperation" in the rural community development, energy, infrastructure and water resource sectors, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

He expressed hope that the two will further develop their ties in a "forward-looking" way, it added.

The Lao leader thanked South Korea for its cooperation in such fields as health care, agriculture and dud removal over the past 25 years.

He suggested that the two countries continue exchanges and partnerships for co-prosperity and peace in the world despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha also exchanged congratulatory letters with her Laotian counterpart, Saleumxay Kommasith, Kang's office said.

In the letter, Kang noted the two countries have been working closely together in areas like quarantine and allowing entry exceptions for essential travelers despite the pandemic, and suggested the two sides continue to seek ways to cooperate in tackling the virus.

The Laotian minister, in response, expressed hope for continued close cooperation so as to further promote the bilateral relationship not only for mutual benefit but also for global co-prosperity and peace, according to the Seoul ministry. (Yonhap)