Vietnam, Cambodia hold first border defence exchange hinh anh 1Defence Ministers Phan Van Giang (L) and Samdech Pichay Sena Tea Banh salute Border Marker No. 69 on the Vietnam - Cambodia borderline on May 15. (Photo: VNA)
Binh Phuoc (VNA) – Vietnam and Cambodia held the first border defence exchange in the border areas of Loc Ninh district of the former’s Binh Phuoc province and Snuol district of the latter’s Kratie province on May 15.

Co-chairing the event, Vietnamese Minister of National Defence Gen. Phan Van Giang and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence Samdech Pichay Sena Tea Banh saluted Border Marker No. 69, planted friendship trees, witnessed a joint patrol, cut the ribbon to open a military - civilian medical centre in Loc Ninh, and visited two primary schools in the districts.

At the following talks, Giang said this was the first border defence friendship exchange between the two countries at the ministerial level. It became even more meaningful as 2022 is the two countries’ Friendship Year and marks the 55th founding anniversary of their diplomatic ties (June 24) and the 45th anniversary of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s path to topple the Pol Pot genocidal regime (June 20).

The two sides affirmed that braving difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the complex international and regional situation, the Vietnam - Cambodia relations, including defence ties, have still been thriving.

The countries have been actively and effectively implementing the cooperation activities agreed on at their talks in Phnom Penh in December 2021 while fruitfully working together to share information, maintain security and social order and safety in border areas, assist each other in the COVID-19 fight and training personnel.

This has helped enhance mutual understanding and trust, promote their friendship and all-round connections, and defeat hostile forces’ plots to drive a wedge into the Vietnam - Cambodia solidarity, according to the officials.

For the time ahead, they agreed to increase coordination in implementing the five-year defence cooperation protocol and annual cooperation plans; boost all-level mutual visits; hold defence policy dialogues at the deputy minister level; strengthen ties between the countries’ military regions, arms, services, and defence forces; cooperate in political education; and support each other at regional and international forums.

Minister Giang affirmed the Vietnamese ministry’s consistent support for Cambodia to successfully fulfill its role as the ASEAN Chair in 2022.

He expressed his hope that Cambodian leaders at all levels will create favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community in the country to settle down and help Vietnamese firms, including his ministry’s businesses, to operate successfully in Cambodia.

After the talks, the two ministers witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Border Guard High Command of Vietnam and Cambodia’s Royal Gendarmerie High Command.

The two countries share 1,137km of land border that runs across 10 provinces of Vietnam and nine provinces of Cambodia./.