Cambodia and Vietnam announced their commitment to strengthening cooperation to combat drugs and human trafficking, with the two countries acknowledging that these tasks are complicated.

This came as Minister of Interior Sar Kheng met with Vietnamese deputy foreign minister Pham Quang Hieu on July 27 at the National Assembly. Sar Kheng said that despite the Covid-19 disruptions, the ministry and its counterpart had continued working through existing mechanisms.

He said current security issues concern two main areas: combating drugs and human trafficking.

“These tasks are complicated, but we are continuing to apply ourselves with a sense of determination,” he said.

The minister added that Cambodia was also endeavouring to combat money laundering crimes and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

“We have so far held meetings with the border provinces of both countries and virtual meetings between the ministry and Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security. These tasks contribute to maintaining security and order on the borders between the two countries,” he said.

Hieu thanked Sar Kheng for appreciating the bilateral cooperation, saying that maintaining security on the borders of the two countries is an important task.

“I agree that the problems of drugs and human trafficking are challenging ones. We must continue our cooperation to curb these crimes,” he said.

Sar Kheng requested that both sides look into the possibility of finding an appropriate time to inaugurate the Meoun Chey border crossing from Prey Veng province to Vietnam’s Tay Ninh province. The border crossing is operational, but an inauguration has yet to be scheduled, owing to delays caused by Covid-19.

He believed that inaugurating the border crossing would further relations between Cambodia and Vietnam, especially trade. It would also serve to commemorate the resistance period.

Hieu promised to convey the remarks to the leadership of Vietnam. He also noted an increase in trade volume between the two countries, attributing the increase to the Meoun Chey border crossing.