Cambodia and Vietnam have agreed to strengthen cooperation in defence and security and to respect each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity by accelerating the demarcation of the remaining 16 per cent of the border.
The agreement followed a two-day visit by Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc to Cambodia from December 21-22, during which he met King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk as well as government leaders.
According a joint statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on December 22, both sides will continue to fully observe the principles previously established by the Cambodia-Vietnam Joint Statements issued in 1999, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2019.
Those joint statements commit the two countries to respect each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and observe strict policies of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs as well as agreeing to settle all problems arising between them through peaceful means.
“The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in defence and security based on the principle of refusing the use of their respective territories by any hostile forces that could harm each other’s security interests, and by effectively implementing all existing agreements on defence and security cooperation,” the press release said.
They also agree to enhance coordination in maintaining political stability, security, social order and safety and improve the effectiveness of border management and protection.
Both reiterated their commitment to fully respecting and implementing the treaties on delimitation, demarcation and marker planting for the land boundary and other border-related agreements they have made.
“Both sides urged the [Joint Border Commission] to find mutually acceptable solutions to the approximately 16 per cent of remaining undemarcated land boundary,” the joint statement said.
They also agreed to increase cooperation in areas such as legal and judicial affairs, labour and social affairs, information and communication technology, culture, sports, tourism, aviation, banking and finance, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, among others, according to the joint statement.
Both sides will also accelerate discussions towards mutual recognition of vaccine passports or certificates for the facilitation of travel for citizens of both countries and the timely resumption of direct flights between the two nations in a safe manner.
Prime Minister Hun Sen and President Phuc also met on December 22 for breakfast, which was also attended by the former’s three sons – RCAF Deputy Commander-in-Chief Hun Manet, Chief of Military Intelligence Hun Manith and National Assembly (NA) member Hun Many.
“During the meeting, both leaders praised the progress of their two nations’ comprehensive, close, and effective bilateral relations during their 55 years of diplomatic ties,” said Hun Sen’s Facebook post about the breakfast.
During his visit, Phuc also presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the NA’s Secretariat building along with NA president Heng Samrin.
According to Samrin, the building will have 12 floors and is being built with a $25 million grant from the Vietnamese government. It will be an enduring symbol of friendship between Cambodia and Vietnam, he said.
Ro Vannak, co-founder of the Cambodian Institute for Democracy, told The Post on December 22 that Phuc’s visit to the Kingdom would cement ties and show mutual support between the neighbouring countries and Vietnam’s support for Cambodia as ASEAN chair in 2022.
“Regarding ASEAN, Vietnam may be trying to persuade Cambodia to understand its position regarding the South China Sea conflict and lessen China’s influence ahead of the negotiations process that Prime Minister Hun Sen has proposed should take place between the claimants to settle the issue in the coming year,” he said.