Delegations from the national assemblies (NAs) of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (CLV) recently convened to discuss investment in the Development Triangle Area (DTA) and address issues related to human trafficking and cross-border terrorism. Cambodian representatives expressed their support for the placement of border markers to ensure long-term peace and development along CLV borders.

According to the Cambodian NA, during their meeting in the Lao southwestern province of Champasak on October 20, the CLV delegations engaged in discussions with the governors of Champasak, Salavan, Sekong and Attapeu – the four Laotian provinces situated within the DTA. The Cambodian delegation was led by Suos Yara, chairman of the NA Commission on Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, Propaganda and Information.

Linkham Douangsavanh, chairman of the Lao NA’s Committee for Economic, Technology and Environment, emphasised the importance of promoting investments by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the DTA. He suggested establishing a special economic zone (SEZ) for sustainable tourism and reiterated the need to combat human trafficking and cross-border terrorism.

He also highlighted the numerous development projects initiated in the four provinces, with Champasak alone spearheading more than 60 projects worth over $900 million.

“We prioritised two significant projects in Champasak. The first is the construction of Road 72, with a budget of $8 million, and the second involves enhancing Cambodia-Laos border infrastructure, an investment exceeding $3 million. These initiatives have positively impacted approximately 1.4 million residents across four Lao provinces.

“The DTA provinces hold promising potential in sectors like hydropower dams, coffee cultivation, ore mining, industrial timber production and tourism,” he elaborated.

Cambodian NA’s Yara commended the investment initiatives in the four provinces and endorsed the placement of border markers to ensure development along the borders.

He also advocated for the expansion of SMEs within the DTA and suggested the establishment of a “Mekong National Assemblies Association”. His backing extended to the harmonisation of laws within the CLV and the promotion of technology and tourism collaboration.

Vu Hai Ha, chairman of the Vietnamese NA’s Foreign Affairs Committee, highlighted the CLV’s commitment to drawing 3.3 million tourists annually to the DTA. Nevertheless, to date, the DTA has only welcomed slightly over 2 million tourists.

“Hence, it is imperative for the three parties to collaborate in expediting customs procedures and paperwork,” he stated.

He proposed mutual sharing of vocational training information to facilitate the development of comprehensive plans meeting people’s needs. Underscoring the healthcare sector’s significance in the DTA, he stressed the importance of collaborative efforts to establish hospitals and promote online patient consultations in the region.