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Cambodia, Laos renew pledge to strengthen bilateral cooperation

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Foreign minister Prak Sokhonn (second right) and his Lao counterpart Saleumxay Kommasith (second left) at a meeting in February. MFAIC

Cambodia, Laos renew pledge to strengthen bilateral cooperation

Cambodia and Laos are committed to explore potential areas to strengthen and advance “close and comprehensive cooperation” between the countries for mutual benefit of their people.

According to a press statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the commitment would be addressed during the 14th meeting of the Cambodia-Laos Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) which will be held on July 7.

The meeting will be co-chaired by foreign minister Prak Sokhonn and his Lao counterpart Saleumxay Kommasith.

Saleumxay will also pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Hun Sen before the meeting, which will also review the progress following the agreed minutes of the previous JCBC meeting.

Yong Kim Eng, president of the People Centre for Development and Peace, said on July 5 that Cambodia-Laos cooperation has improved in recent years.

He hoped the bilateral cooperation would “end past hostilities” regarding the countries’ shared border, which has seen confrontations in the past, though there were no attacks.

“For some time now, we have not heard of hostilities between the two countries. At the same time, I think cooperation between neighbouring countries will lead to mutual opportunities and be beneficial.

“Even though both countries don’t have strong economies, there are still many opportunities for cooperation,” Kim Eng said.

These opportunities can include exchange of products and trade for mutual benefit and needs for both countries, as well as other opportunities.

Bilateral cooperation is an important factor that can help strengthen the role of both countries in ASEAN, as with regards to other major powers, he said.

In February, Saleumxay visited and attended the three-day ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Cambodia to further strengthen bilateral relations.

The ministers discussed bilateral cooperation sectors as well as regional and international issues of common interest and concern.

At the time, Sokhonn said bilateral relations were gaining momentum, especially after the “fruitful” visit of Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh in November 2021.

Both sides have pledged to continue to explore new areas through promotion and cooperation, especially in trade, investment, education, tourism and people-to-people connection.

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