As part of the fourth meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committees from the National Assemblies (NA) of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in the central province of Nghe An, officials from all three countries on August 3 discussed the recent report released by the development triangle joint coordinating committee.

They also talked about further cooperation between the three NA committees to improve the effectiveness of their operations and deepen the friendship and special solidarity between the three countries.

The development triangle includes five provinces in Cambodia, four in Laos and five in Vietnam, covers an area of 144,600 km2 and is home to a population of 6.7 million people.

This is a highland region with vast untapped potential.

According to Vietnam’s Deputy Minister for Planning and Investment, Dao Quang Thu, most of projects operating in the development triangle have been funded by Vietnamese enterprises, focusing on agriculture, mining and hydro-electric power.

In the four Laotian provinces of Attapeu, Saravan, Sekong and Champasak, Vietnamese businesses have invested in 50 projects operating in agro-forestry, mining and the processing industry. The total registered capital for these projects amounts to 1.54 billion USD, 23 percent of all projects and 45 percent of all Vietnamese investment in Laos .

In the provinces of Modunkiri, Strung Treng, Rattanakiri and Kratie of Cambodia, Vietnamese businesses have invested in 20 projects, including manufacturing, construction, mining and hydro-electric power, worth 1.24 billion USD.

Once operational, these projects will increase State revenues, the value of exports and help reduce poverty in the region, said the deputy minister.

He also stressed that to develop further, it is necessary to make the most of Cambodia and Laos ’ strengths, including agricultural land and opportunities to develop the two countries’ potential for hydro-electric power.

Apart from economic cooperation, the three countries need to cooperate more in health care, education and training, poverty reduction, culture and sport, he said, adding that economic cooperation should go hand in hand with environmental protection and sustainable development.

To carry out their roles and duties effectively, the NAs from all three countries need to expand the spheres of their cooperation and invest in, promote and closely monitor projects in the development triangle. The Chairman of Laos’ NA External Relations Committee, Koukeo Akkhamonty, asked for a joint committee between the three nations to be set up and direct it to act as the medium for organising and carrying out all related activities.

Added to this, the external relations committees of all three NAs should work with other committees and ministries to step up the supervision of projects in the development triangle, he said.

Deputy Chairman of Vietnam’s NA External Relations Committee Nguyen Manh Tien said that talks between the three legislative bodies have been ongoing and comprehensive.

The three NAs are members of many other inter-parliamentary forums, including the ASEAN Inter-parliamentary Assembly, the International Parliamentary Union, the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership and the Parliamentary Assembly of Francophone Countries.

The three legislative bodies support each other at these forums and have helped upholding the roles of the National Assemblies in all three countries in multilateral diplomatic channels, he said./.