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Hun Sen talks trade, tourism with Vietnam’s top diplomat

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Prime Minister Hun Sen (R) poses for a photo with Vietnam’s foreign affairs minister Bui Thanh Son on January 20. AKP

Hun Sen talks trade, tourism with Vietnam’s top diplomat

Prime Minister Hun Sen met with Vietnamese foreign minister Bui Thanh Son for wide-ranging talks on issues of mutual concern, with both sides committing to facilitating an increase in their trade volume in order to reach more than $10 billion for 2022.

The meeting was held at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on January 20 during Son’s two-day visit to Cambodia on January 19-20 for bilateral discussions on regional issues and areas of cooperation.

During the meeting, Son informed Hun Sen that the trade volume between Cambodia and Vietnam had increased to nearly $10 billion last year and that he expected the two countries would continue to strengthen their economic connections and work together to increase the trade volume in 2022 even further.

Son said he also expects that both countries will beef up cooperation across all sectors of agriculture and industry, according to Hun Sen’s Facebook post following the meeting.

“[Son] thanked [Hun Sen] for reopening direct flights between Vietnam and Cambodia recently, enabling easier travel and especially for the encouragement of mutual recognition of ‘vaccination passports’,” said the post.

“Hun Sen said that we have to continue to work on tourism investment to make our economies interconnected. He also touched on the plan of building a railway connection between Cambodia and Vietnam and said that Cambodia wanted to see this railway built in order to facilitate economic connections between the two countries,” it added.

On the ongoing Myanmar crisis, Son also praised Hun Sen’s recent visit to the country, saying it was important work for ASEAN to pursue and that it also benefitted Myanmar.

Hun Sen said that although Myanmar issue is important, ASEAN has many other issues to tackle in addition to the crisis there.

“ASEAN cannot be held hostage by this one issue, though we have to continue our efforts to help Myanmar,” he was quoted as saying.

Son also said that Vietnam will do whatever it possibly can to support Cambodia in hosting the ASEAN summit and in its role as ASEAN chair in 2022.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Son will also meet with Senate president Say Chhum and National Assembly president Heng Samrin while visiting the Kingdom.

“As 2022 marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations . . . the official visit will further strengthen and deepen the bilateral relations built upon the traditional friendship, good neighbourliness and comprehensive cooperation between Cambodia and Vietnam for the mutual benefits of our two peoples,” it said.

On border issue, Hun Sen and Son agreed that both countries should promote the demarcation of the border as it helps to keep the peace.

Heng Kimkong, a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland and a visiting senior research fellow at the Cambodia Development Centre, told The Post that Vietnam and Cambodia need to expedite the process of border demarcation and bring final resolution of the remaining disputed areas.

“The completion of border demarcation is critical as it will end all border disagreements and this will help to strengthen our relations,” he said.

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