President’s visits to Laos, Cambodia to elevate bilateral ties hinh anh 1President Tran Dai Quang receives Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith during the minister's official visit to Vietnam (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – President Tran Dai Quang’s State-level visits to Laos and Cambodia from June 12-16 aim to elevate the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation with Laos, as well as the friendly neighbourliness and comprehensive cooperation with Cambodia to a new height.

The visits, made at the invitation of Lao Party General Secretary and President Bounnhang Vorachith and Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, are the first overseas trips by Tran Dai Quang in his capacity as President of Vietnam.

Vietnam and Laos boast a fruitful traditional relationship, which was fostered by Presidents Ho Chi Minh and Kaysone Phomvihane, and has been nurtured by generations of the two countries’ Party and State leaders and people.

Politically, the two sides regularly conducted high-level meetings for their Party, State, National Assembly and Government leaders, and exchanges between their localities.

The latest visits to Vietnam were made by Lao Party General Secretary and President Bounhang Vorachith in April 2016 and Lao Prime Minister Thoongloun Sisoulith a month later. Permanent member of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC)’s Secretariat Dinh The Huynh, head of the CPVCC’s Inspection Commission Tran Quoc Vuong and Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Dinh La Thang also visited Laos in the year.

Besides, the bilateral economic cooperation has made big strides in recent years, creating a material foundation to consolidate the special ties between the two countries.

Vietnamese businesses have, to date, invested nearly 5 billion USD in 258 projects in Laos, mainly focusing on hydropower, mining, transport and industrial tree planting.

The two sides have also paid heed to collaboration in education-training and human resource development.

At present, close to 9,300 Lao officials and students are studying in Vietnam while 425 Vietnamese students are learning in the neighbouring country.

Cooperation between localities sharing the border have also received due attention, which has been evidenced through the formation of economic and commercial zones at international and national border gates, the signing of a border trade agreement in June last year and the launch of the “one-stop-shop” customs model at the Lao Bao -Densavan international border gate.

The security-defence cooperation has been maintained at a high level of trust. The two sides completed the project on increasing and upgrading the border marker system.

They also signed two important legal documents, namely the Protocol on Borderline and Border Markers and the Agreement on Regulations on the Management of Border and Border Gates on Land between the two governments.

The completion of the border marker system has contributed to improving the quality of the Vietnam-Laos borderline, both legally and in reality.

The two sides are continuing the search and repatriation of remains of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts who died in Laos.

In order to develop the Vietnam-Laos traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation intensively and effectively, senior leaders of the two countries committed to ceaselessly fostering and promoting the relationship and passing on it to younger generations.

The two sides agreed to strongly push the Vietnam-Laos, Laos-Vietnam comprehensive cooperation in the principles of independence, self-reliance, win-win and equal cooperation, supporting each other for mutual development, for prosperity of each country as well as for peace, stability, cooperation and development in Southeast Asia and the world at large.

On the basis of maximizing strengths and potential of each country, the two sides will expand and improve cooperation in economy, culture, science-technology as well as promote the effective implementation of high-level agreements, cooperation plans between the two governments, and boost cooperation in defence, security, ensuring political stability, security, social order and safety in each country.

Regarding regional issues of mutual concern, the two sides affirmed to continue closely coordinating at international and regional forums such as the United Nations and ASEAN, and Mekong Great Sub-region cooperation mechanisms, contributing to building a strong ASEAN Community, enhancing solidarity and promoting ASEAN’s central role.

Vietnam gives positive and comprehensive support to Laos as the Chair of ASEAN.

Meanwhile, the Vietnam-Cambodia cooperation and friendship have been continuously developed in all fields, particularly in economy, trade, investment.

Bilateral economic cooperation has seen considerable results. Vietnam has been Cambodia’s third largest trade partner with two-way trade reaching 3.37 billion USD in 2015 and 944.6 million USD in the first quarter of this year.

The two countries are striving for 5 billion USD in bilateral trade in the coming time.
Cambodia is Vietnam’s 16th largest export market with steel, fertilizer, garments, equipment and machinery, plastics making up a major proportion.
Vietnamese investments have been present at 16 out of 25 Cambodian cities and provinces. By May 2016, Vietnam ranked fifth among 50 countries and territories investing in Cambodia with 172 projects, mostly in agro-forestry, energy, finance-banking-insurance, post and telecommunications, healthcare and construction, among others.

Regarding tourism, Vietnamese nationals top list of foreign arrivals to the neighbouring country. Some one million visits to Cambodia were made by Vietnamese holiday-makers in 2015 while nearly 210,000 Cambodia travellers chose Vietnam as their tourist destination.

Bilateral cooperation mechanisms such as the Vietnam-Cambodia Joint Committee on Cooperation in Economy, Culture and Science-Technology and the conference on cooperation and development of Vietnam-Cambodia border provinces have held regular meetings to boost collaboration between the two nations.

The two countries’ ministries, agencies and localities have helped each in economic development, enhanced cultural and people-to-people exchanges and health cooperation as well as signed annual collaboration plans.

On the growing security-defence relations, Vietnam and Cambodia have worked to exchange information and address arising border issues while increasing joint maritime patrols. They have also joined hands in the search and repatriation of remains of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts who laid down their lives during wartime in Cambodia.

The two countries are striving to complete the border demarcation and marker planting along the shared borderline as soon as possible.-VNA