Vietnam News

PM set for official Vietnam trip

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Prime Minister Hun Manet is slated to pay his first official visit to Vietnam this December, as the neighbouring countries beef up bilateral cooperation across various sectors.

Cambodia and Vietnam just concluded the eighth political consultations between the two nation’s foreign ministries, held from October 25-27 in Sihanoukville. The meeting was co-chaired by Cambodian ministry secretary of state Soeung Rathchavy and Vietnamese deputy foreign minister Do Hung Viet.

The outcome of the meeting, released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on October 29, confirmed that Manet will pay an official visit to Vietnam in December.

During the forum, both sides expressed satisfaction with the “close and mutually beneficial” relations between the two nations which continue to grow “unceasingly in all dimensions”.

“Both sides reiterated their strong commitments to further advancing comprehensive cooperation based on the spirit of good neighbourliness, traditional friendship, comprehensive cooperation and long-term stability,” said the statement.

It added that both sides enjoyed in-depth discussion on various aspects of bilateral cooperation, including political-security, defence, border affairs, trade and investment, tourism, education and culture, among others, with the overall aim of better serving the best interests of both nations and peoples.

“On defence and security, both sides agreed to intensify information sharing and coordination between their relevant ministries and authorities to combat drug-related offences and other transnational crimes,” it said.

Both countries committed to resolving the demarcation of the remaining 16 per cent of their shared border, and affirmed that the border areas should be places of peace, stability, friendship, cooperation and sustainable development.

They also noted an increase in bilateral trade, despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. It was agreed that both countries should establish new trade targets for as far off as 2030.

“The Vietnamese side agreed to enhance trade facilitation between the two countries through the effective implementation of existing agreements, as well as expediting infrastructure connectivity, including the expressways and railways linking Phnom Penh-Bavet to Moc-Bai-Ho Chi Minh,” added the statement.

Manet recently conceived of the idea of establishing the “One Journey, Three Destinations” initiative to promote tourism cooperation between Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam (CLV). The topic was also on the agenda, with the two sides sharing the same view that it should be introduced as soon as practically possible.

The two sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interests and concern, including US-China rivalry, the Israel-Hamas conflict, the Russia-Ukraine war, the disputed South China Sea and the Myanmar crisis.

The next Political Consultations will be held in Vietnam in 2025.

Before his departure, Do Hung Viet paid a courtesy call on foreign minister Sok Chenda Sophea, who offered a warm welcome to the Vietnamese delegation and expressed his congratulations for the fruitful outcomes of the consultations.

He said the meetings had laid the groundwork for Manet’s December visit to the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

“The foreign minister stressed the importance of promoting synergy and complementary cooperation between the two countries, particularly in terms of agriculture, tourism and industrial supply chains,” said the ministry.

Seun Sam, a policy analyst at the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said it is significant that the two nations solidify their relations, as they are neighbours who need to learn to live together in harmony.

“Both sides must have mutual respect for each other, as well as the agreements they have signed,” he said.

Sam also suggested that both countries avoid unilateral decision-making – such as Vietnam’s decision to close its border crossings with the Kingdom at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic – as this could sour bilateral relations.

He also saw Manet’s planned visit to Vietnam as another element which could boost closer cooperation between the new Cambodian government and their Vietnamese counterparts, as it stressed the importance of peaceful cooperation and contributions to regional stability.

By Samban Chandara – The Phnom Penh Post – October 30, 2023

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