Toast Speech by PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Official Lunch in honour of Lao PM Phankham Viphavanh (Sep 2022)

PM Lee Hsien Loong | 28 September 2022

Toast Speech by PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Official Lunch in honour of His Excellency Phankham Viphavanh, Prime Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on 28 September 2022.


Your Excellency, Mr Phankham Viphavanh
Mrs Sichanh Viphavanh
Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen

May I wish a very warm welcome to Prime Minister Phankham and all of your delegation. I am very happy to reciprocate the excellent hospitality I received when I visited Vientiane in 2016 for the ASEAN Summits.

This is the Prime Minister Phankham’s first official visit here in his current role, but he is no stranger to Singapore. Over 20 years ago, he attended a course for senior officials at Nanyang Polytechnic. I understand he will be going to visit Nanyang Polytechnic this afternoon. I wish him a fruitful visit and hope it will bring back many fond memories of his time here.

Singapore and Lao PDR have a warm and longstanding friendship. As fellow small States, we share an interest in maintaining regional peace and stability, and upholding an open and inclusive, rules-based multilateral system. We both put heavy emphasis on human capital development and people-to-people exchanges. Singapore is glad to have hosted more than 15,000 officials from Laos through the Singapore Cooperation Programme, which marks its 30th anniversary this year. We have also welcomed Lao students to study in Singapore under our ASEAN scholarships. And this has benefited Singaporean students too by helping them to understand our ASEAN neighbours. Interactions such as these are crucial to deepening our people-to-people ties, which form the bedrock of our bilateral relationship.

As we look forward to the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2024, Singapore and Laos are stepping up our cooperation in emerging areas. For example on energy. We recently in June commenced the Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project. This is Singapore’s first import of renewable energy, bringing up to 100 megawatts of electricity from Laos. And today’s signing of our MOU on Energy Cooperation will strengthen our bilateral energy cooperation further. We also cooperate on sustainability and environmental protection. We have just renewed our MOU on Environmental Protection, Climate Change and Water Resource Management. This will facilitate mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise and create green growth opportunities for our businesses. On digital, we are increasing exchanges and deepening bilateral cooperation.

And there are many other areas where we can do much more together. Including in urban planning and logistics. Looking ahead, Laos will be ASEAN Chair in 2024. Singapore supports Laos’ preparations for this important responsibility. And I am happy that we will be implementing a “Singapore-Laos Enhanced Cooperation Package”, which will include capacity building programmes geared towards supporting Laos’ ASEAN Chairmanship.

I am confident our two countries will continue to strengthen our bonds of friendship and will work closely to navigate the opportunities and challenges of the post-pandemic world.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

May I now invite you to join me in a toast to His Excellency President Thongloun Sisoulith, the good health and success of Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh, Mrs Sichanh Viphavanh and the delegation, the continued peace and prosperity of Lao PDR and the enduring friendship between Singapore and Lao PDR.


Thank you very much.