||Asean Affairs 9 July 2013
Last border demarcation between Vietnam, Laos nears completion
The last border marker on the Vietnam-Laos borderline will be inaugurated at a ceremony at the gate separating the Vietnamese town of Thanh Thuy in Nghe An province and the Lao town of Nam On in Bolykhamsay province on July 9.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his Lao counterpart Thongsing Thammavong will attend the ceremony to celebrate the completion of building border markers along the two countries' shared border, which is seen as a key component of their cooperation for development.
Vietnam and Laos share a border line of 2,067 km which runs across 10 Vietnamese provinces: Dien Bien, Son La, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam and Kon Tum. The line also passes 10 Lao provinces: Phongsaly, Luang Prabang, Houaphan, Bolykhamsay, Khammoune, Savannakhet, Salavan, Xiengkhouang, Sepon and Attapeu.
The two countries first signed a 10-year agreement on border demarcation in July 1977. During the following period, the two sides planted 214 markers in 199 positions. The successful result was recognised in the protocol on border demarcation and border marker planting signed by the two neighbours in October 1987.
In 2003, the two sides completed a Vietnam-Laos border map at a scale of 1/50,000. However, at that time it became clear that the old marker system was no longer suitable to meet the requirements, when the density of markers was too low (214 markers in 199 positions along a 2,067 km long border). Furthermore, the markers had degraded significantly since their planting over 20 years before.
Leaders of the two countries agreed to implement a project to restore and add new border markers along their border between the 2008-2014 period. This has been widely seen as one of the most important cooperation activities between the two countries in their recent history.
The project aimed to add more markers in necessary positions to clearly identify the borderline on the field and to restore and build new markers, especially at border gates, to ensure a solid marker system.
The project started on September 5, 2008 with the building of marker 605 at the Lao Bao-Densavan border gate. Work was scheduled for completion in June 2013, by which point the total number of border markers between Vietnam and Laos would be 835 in 793 positions.
Despite some brief delays, the work is now nearing its end. The two sides will next adjust the border map and compile a new protocol on the borderline between the two countries. They will finish legal documents recognising the border marker planting achievements in 2014.
Leaders have declared that new markers will improve border management, consolidate the security and defence of both nations, facilitate socio-economic development in border areas and create an environment of peace, friendship and cooperation along the borderline between Vietnam and Laos.