Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said that the joint disaster training exercises that had recently begun had provided the armies of the three countries partnering on the exercises – Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam – opportunities to strengthen traditional relations, friendship and solidarity as good neighbours.

The remarks came after the three countries began the joint rescue exercises on September 15 in Laos, coinciding with the opening of an annual military meeting between the three countries.

The rescue exercises focused on both maritime and land-based rescues. The exercises brought together nearly 500 military officers and soldiers who carried out simulated search-and-rescue operations in response to floods, landslides, building collapses and chemical spills.

The exercises in Vientiane were carried out under an agreement reached at the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting in 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Tea Banh said that the military training of the three countries was based on a comprehensive strategic partnership and cooperation on terms that would mutually benefit all three nations.

“We conduct this training under cooperation between the governments and the three ministries of defence, based on the spirit of independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, equality, mutual benefit and non-interference in internal affairs,” he added.

Vietnamese state media said that the annual military meeting taking place in Vientiane focused on discussions of regional and international issues of common concern.

Vietnamese Defence Minister Phan Van Giang said that the meeting also focused on the direction of cooperation for the future, including increasing exchanges of visits at all levels, more joint search-and-rescue exercises and coordination to combat transnational crimes.

He requested that the governments of the three countries pay more attention to educating the armies and the peoples of the three countries, especially youths, to understand the importance of Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia solidarity.

He added that he had invited his Lao and Cambodian counterparts to attend an international defence exhibition held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Defence in December in Hanoi.