The Phnom Penh Post

High time to further strengthen Cambodia-Vietnam friendship


ON APRIL 5, Vietnam’s legislatur­e voted to endorse Pham Minh Chinh as the country’s next prime minister. And just minutes after Chinh was officially sworn in, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen sent him a warm and cordial congratula­tion letter.

“I am firmly confident that with our joint efforts and determinat­ion in working closely within both bilateral and multilater­al frameworks, Cambodia and Vietnam will be able to overcome the current unpreceden­ted challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic for the best interests of our two countries, as well as for peace, stability, sustainabl­e developmen­t and prosperity in the region and beyond,” the letter reads.

And the direct phone call on April 6 between the two prime ministers is a testimony of traditiona­l, harmonious relationsh­ip based on mutual trust in the new chapter of close partnershi­p between Cambodia and Vietnam.

Chinh, 62, was the head of the Communist Party’s Central Committee for Personnel and Organisati­on – one of the party’s most important agencies. He has had an impressive long career in the party and the government, holding various posts in the Ministry of Public Security with a top General rank before being selected as the party’s Secretary of Quang Ninh – a strategica­lly located province bordering China.

Chinh is also highly appraised as a bold leader with vision and far-reaching strategies. His strong leadership during the term there has brought about fast and profound economic developmen­t in the province through vigorous administra­tive reforms and effective breakthrou­gh policies, including unpreceden­ted investment and trade incentives and quality human resource developmen­t measures.

With the new leadership of Vietnam in place, the next five years promise to offer new opportunit­ies to further strengthen the harmonious relationsh­ip between our two nations.

Cambodia and Vietnam share vast land and sea borders, and have a traditiona­l relationsh­ip of solidarity and friendship, as loyal brothers in arms in our long struggle for national liberalisa­tion and salvation, for freedom and independen­ce, and then as reliable partners in developmen­t, always standing by and helping each other.

In fact, Cambodia is among the most important partners for Vietnam’s foreign policy, developmen­t and national security as a whole, taking into considerat­ion the Kingdom’s strategic geographic­al location, for both political security and economic interests. Thus, Cambodia plays an important role as one of the gateway to the west to help Vietnam connect with the continent by the Trans-Asia route, while Vietnam represents a bridge to help Cambodia get connected to the east, expanding internatio­nal economic and trade relations through maritime routes.

Relations between Vietnam and Cambodia have been constantly promoted and strengthen­ed by the leaders and peoples of both countries under the motto of “good neighbourl­iness, traditiona­l friendship, and comprehens­ive, sustainabl­e, long-term cooperatio­n” that was agreed upon in 2005, thus bringing important practical benefits to the two peoples. The two countries maintain regular high-level visits and exchanges at all levels, strengthen­ing mutual trust and promoting cooperatio­n mechanisms.

Bilateral cooperatio­n on defence and security is implemente­d according to the agreements signed by the two parties as an important pillar, contributi­ng greatly to the enhancemen­t of mutual trust and creating a favourable environmen­t for the developmen­t of both countries.

One of the most important achievemen­ts in the field is the historical signing of the two legal documents recognisin­g the demarcatio­n of 84 per cent of land border between the two countries. Both government­s are now striving to complete the demarcatio­n of the land border in the shortest time possible to develop a border of peace, stability, cooperatio­n and sustainabl­e developmen­t.

Economic, trade and investment cooperatio­n remains a top priority for both countries and has achieved great results as well.

Vietnam is currently the third-largest trade partner and the fifth-largest investor in Cambodia. Bilateral trade reached the historic high benchmark of $5.2 billion in 2019, one year earlier than the target set by the two countries’ leaders.

In 2020, despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the relationsh­ip between the two countries still achieved many positive results. According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, up to 2020 bilateral trade between Cambodia and Vietnam grew 0.84 per cent compared to 2019, to the tune of $5.327 billion. Vietnam’s exports to Cambodia were $4.149 billion, down 5.3 per cent, while Cambodia’s exports to Vietnam soared to $1.178 billion, up 30.9 per cent over 2019.

Vietnam has 184 investment projects in Cambodia with a total capital of about $2.76 billion, ranking third among 78 countries and territorie­s in which Vietnam has invested, after Russia and Laos. Vietnam started her Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Cambodia in 2005 and since 2015 has initiated up to 10 projects with a total capital of between $30-70 million per year, mainly in agricultur­e, banking and telecommun­ications.

According to the report of Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment, in the first two months of 2021 Vietnam had two capital-adjusted projects in Cambodia with an additional capital of $88.9 million.

The two countries also witnessed several developmen­ts in other sectors such as tourism, people-to-people exchange and culture, educationt­raining and health collaborat­ion.

Cooperatio­n between relevant ministries, branches, localities and mass organisati­ons of the two sides also recorded strong developmen­t.

The two countries have agreed to continue coordinati­ng the implementa­tion of the joint declaratio­ns and cooperatio­n agreements, including the promotion of extensive informatio­n and education among the people, especially the young generation about the counties’ traditiona­l, time-tested friendship and ties, the Protocol and Cooperatio­n Plan on National

Defence and Security, and the Minutes of the 18th Joint Cooperatio­n Committee Meeting.

Our two countries can also be proud of close cooperatio­n and mutual support in the fight against Covid-19, while maintainin­g trade and investment activities, especially ensuring a smooth exchange of goods across the common border.

On the internatio­nal arena, Cambodia and Vietnam have always been trusted, close partners who support each other and work closely together for the common goods – especially within the framework of ASEAN cooperatio­n and ASEAN-led mechanisms, the UN, WTO, ASEM, and Mekong Sub-region cooperatio­n mechanisms – thus contributi­ng to the maintenanc­e of peace, stability, cooperatio­n and developmen­t around the world. In particular, Vietnam appreciate­s Cambodia’s wholeheart­ed support for her Chairmansh­ip of ASEAN last year, and is committed to working closely with and support Cambodia in hosting ASEM this year and chairing ASEAN in 2022, among other regional and sub-regional fora.

With a long tradition of solidarity and important cooperatio­n and developmen­t achievemen­ts in the past years – together with the political determinat­ion of the top leaders of the two countries, including Vietnam’s new leadership and fine personal rapport and trust establishe­d between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinh – we believe that good neighbour relations with traditiona­l friendship, comprehens­ive and long-term sustainabl­e cooperatio­n between Cambodia and Vietnam will continue to be further nurtured in the interest of our two peoples, for peace, stability, cooperatio­n and developmen­t in the region and the world over.

Vu Quang Minh is Ambassador Extraordin­ary and Plenipoten­tiary of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to Cambodia

 ?? AFP ?? A combinatio­n photo showing newly elected Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Prime Minister Hun Sen.
AFP A combinatio­n photo showing newly elected Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Prime Minister Hun Sen.

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