National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (R) receives Cambodian NA President Heng Samrin ahead of their talks (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan held talks with her Cambodian counterpart Heng Samrin in Hanoi on June 23 following an official welcome ceremony for the guest.

President Heng Samrin has been on a four-day official friendship visit to Vietnam, where he is scheduled to take part in activities marking the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam-Cambodia diplomatic ties and participate in a meeting of the presidents of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, the Lao Front for National Construction and the Solidarity Front for Development of the Cambodian Motherland.

Chairwoman Ngan spoke highly of the Cambodian delegation’s visit which takes place at a time when the people of the two nations are eagerly celebrating the 50th founding anniversary of Vietnam-Cambodia diplomatic ties - the major activity of the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Year 2017, vividly reflecting their friendly neighbourliness, comprehensive cooperation and long-term sustainability.

Having thanked the Party, State and people of Vietnam for their support and assistance to Cambodia during its difficult periods as well as its current process of national construction and development, President Heng Samrin congratulated and highly evaluated Vietnam’s important socio-economic achievements, and believed that Vietnam will obtain greater successes in the time to come.

While informing his host of Cambodia’s situation, President Heng Samrin said Cambodia has achieved an annual average economic growth rate of 7 percent over the past decade. Its per capita GDP increased from just 288 USD in 2000 to 1,300 USD in 2016, he said.

The country is striving to become a high middle-income nation by 2030 by promoting open-door policies, attracting more foreign investment, enhancing connectivity with economies and integrating deeper into the region and the world, he added.

President Heng Samrin said he was delighted to see that the two parliaments relations have been strengthened through the exchange of delegations at all levels and the organisation of workshops to share lawmaking experiences.

While updating her guest on Vietnam’s socio-economic development and the 14th NA’s activities, Chairwoman Ngan stressed Vietnam continues its consistent foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, diversification and multilateralisation of foreign relations, comprehensive international integration, proactive participation in and active contribution to important international organisations and regional cooperation mechanisms such as the United Nations, ASEAN, APEC and ASEAN Regional Forum.

Vietnam has contributed responsibly to maintaining peace, stability and cooperation in the region and the world as well as safeguarding its national integrity and sovereignty on the basis of respecting international law, she added.

The Vietnamese leader congratulated Cambodia on the successful commune/ward elections, which, she said, will create an important prerequisite for the country to successfully organise the general election in 2018 and to build a peaceful, stable and prosperous Cambodia.

Chairwoman Ngan affirmed that Vietnam always treasures the fine sentiments and precious support and assistance that late King Norodom Sihanouk, King Norodom Sihamoni, other Cambodian leaders, including President Samdech Heng Samrin, and people of Cambodia have given to the Vietnamese people during the fight for national independence in the past and the process of national construction and development at present.

Vietnam always attaches importance to and give top priority to enhancing relations with Cambodia, she said, stressing that the Party, State and people of Vietnam will exert every effort to reinforce the “good neighbourliness, traditional friendship, comprehensive cooperation and long-term sustainability” between Vietnam and Cambodia, considering it as a invaluable common asset of the two nations that should be passed to future generations. 

The talks between NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and Cambodian NA President Heng Samrin (Photo: VNA)

At the talks, the parliament leaders agreed that the two sides will increase delegation exchanges and meetings between senior leaders, ministries, sectors and localities so as to coordinate to implement the reached agreements. They will also share information, experience and concrete measures to timely solve problems arising in bilateral relations in the spirit of mutual understanding and trust, and in conformity with law of Vietnam and Cambodia, international practice and the two countries’ traditional friendship.

President Heng Samrin consented to Chairwoman Ngan’s view that both sides should maintain relations in all Party, State and people-to-people diplomacy channels. They also need to press ahead with friendship activities and educate people from all walks of life, especially younger generations, on the Vietnam-Cambodia solidarity, friendship and comprehensive cooperation.

President Heng Samrin agreed with his Vietnamese counterpart’s proposals to continue negotiations between the two countries for the early signing of the Vietnam-Cambodia Border Trade Agreement to replace the Agreement on Trade and Exchange of Goods and Services in Border Areas inked in 2001. 

The Cambodian NA backs the facilitation of licensing of Vietnamese businesses’ investment projects in Cambodia, he said.

Chairwoman Ngan called on the two sides to intensify their cooperation in defence and security, and join hands to fight smuggling and cross-border crimes.  

She also suggested stronger coordination in searching and repatriating remains of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts who sacrificed their lives in Cambodia. 

The two legislatures should create conditions for Vietnamese and Cambodian Governments as well as relevant ministries, agencies and localities to complete the construction of auxiliary border markers and poles along the common border line in 2017, and finalise the dossier on border demarcation and marker planting in line with regulations of the Vietnam-Cambodia Joint Committee for Border Demarcation and Marker Planting, towards reaching a legal document acknowledging outcomes of the work.

[Cambodian PM thanks Vietnam for help in ending Pol Pot regime]

In this regard, the top Cambodian legislator pledged to seek measures together with Vietnam to accelerate the land border demarcation and market planting.  

Ngan expressed her belief that under the instruction of his Cambodian counterpart, difficulties regarding the legal status of overseas Vietnamese in Cambodia will soon be removed, helping them stabilise their lives in the host country. 

She informed her guest that the Vietnamese legislature has decided to provide sets of computers worth 3 billion VND (132,000 USD) for the Secretariat of the Cambodian Senate in 2017. 

At the talks, the two leaders also discussed several regional and international issues of shared concern. 

NA Chairwoman Ngan said Vietnam will join hands with other ASEAN countries, including Cambodia, to build a strong ASEAN Community, actively and responsibility contributing to the common consensus of the ten-member group. 

She asked Cambodia to increase exchanges, consultations and information sharing with Vietnam in the framework of Greater Mekong Subregion mechanisms such as Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV), Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam (CLMV), Mekong River Commission (MRC) and Mekong-Langcan Cooperation.

Cambodia should actively work with Vietnam and other ASEAN nations to complete the frame of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the Ease Sea between ASEAN and China in 2017.

Chairwoman Ngan said hosting the APEC Year 2017 is one of the diplomatic focuses of Vietnam, showing the country’s determination to boost intensive and extensive international integration and raise its multilateral external relations.

She expressed her wish that Cambodia will support Vietnam in successfully organising the event.

The same day, the NA Chairwoman hosted the banquet for her Cambodian counterpart Heng Samrin, his wife and entourage.-VNA