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Cambodia, Vietnam to boost military co-op

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Prime Minister Hun Sen meets with Vietnamese deputy defence minister Nguyen Tan Cuong on Saturday. DEFENCE MINISTRY

Cambodia, Vietnam to boost military co-op

Prime Minister Hun Sen encouraged the Cambodian and Vietnamese militaries to continue cooperation in maintaining security and safety along the two countries’ border and to seek additional means of collaboration for this purpose.

Hun Sen made the call at a meeting with Vietnamese deputy defence minister Nguyen Tan Cuong, during his visit to attend the 19th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces’ Meeting in Phnom Penh from March 15-17.

During the courtesy call at the Peace Palace on March 19, Cuong urged greater ties between the two militaries so that business can be conducted at the border without any security fears. The premier stated that although the border was once a battlefield, it can now be turned into an area of development, peace and friendship, according to a post on his official Facebook page.

Cuong was quoted as saying that the two armies will hold border meetings to “strengthen friendship, expand defence cooperation, and set up a hotline to jointly resolve any issues that may arise in a timely manner, conduct training, research, emergency rescues, share information and maintain the security and safety of everyone along the border”.

Cuong also congratulated Hun Sen and the government for vaccinating more than 90 per cent of the population – one of the highest rates in the world and number one in the region, the post said.

He also wished Cambodia success as the chair of ASEAN in 2022, noting that the 19th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces’ Meeting in Phnom Penh went smoothly as planned after it was postponed two years ago.

Hun Sen told Cuong about Cambodia’s vaccination strategy, saying that it had been successful and the country had reopened some time ago and now travellers to Cambodia are not even required to obtain a PCR test certificate before departing for the Kingdom while visa on arrival has now resumed.

Hun Sen also complimented the contributions of the two countries’ armies to building and protecting the bonds of friendship and cooperation.

In a separate meeting with Minister of National Defence Tea Banh on March 18, Cuong was asked to help take in Cambodian cadets for military training and send trainers to the Kingdom, according to the ministry’s Information Department.

The department noted in a March 18 statement that Tea Banh praised the results of a 2021 cooperation plan and the launch of a new version for this year, which both sides had agreed to implement together as “traditionally good neighbours” to promote comprehensive strategic cooperation.

Tea Banh said the latest plan aims to strengthen cooperation in all sectors as well as “friendship, brotherhood and solidarity”, which are the “key factors” to advance the mutual interests of the militaries of the two countries.

“Tea Banh requested the Vietnamese foreign ministry to provide training and ramp up information technology cooperation”, and called for more partnerships between the armies and navies of the two countries, the statement said.

The defence minister also advocated for joint military exercises for disaster relief and humanitarian cooperation along the border, as well as to combat terrorism, transnational crimes and drug trafficking.

Cuong stressed that Cambodia and Vietnam have an established tradition of mutual help, the statement said, adding that the defence ministries will ensure that memorandums of understanding signed between the two countries “continue to flourish”.

Heng Kimkong, a visiting senior research fellow at the Cambodia Development Centre, said it is important that Cambodia and Vietnam as neighbors try to strengthen their bilateral ties, particularly in areas of mutual benefits and concerns.

“However, the Cambodian government needs to promote transparency and the mutual benefits of cooperating with Vietnam to ensure the sustainability of bilateral relations,” he told The Post on March 20.

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