Senior representatives from Cambodia and Vietnam have emphasised their shared commitment to bolster security along their mutual boundaries. This urgency comes in the wake of recent reports of illicit drone activity in northeastern Cambodian provinces.

Koy Pisey, deputy head of the Permanent Secretariat of the National Authority for Border Affairs, conveyed her pleasure on July 5 about her Vietnamese counterparts’ resolve to deepen their established cooperation.

“The need for Cambodia to cooperate, unify and work in tandem with our neighbouring countries, whether it be Vietnam, Laos or Thailand, is crucial. Our ultimate aim is to create borders that are peaceful, secure and prosperous, fostering harmony among our populations,” she said.

Pham Thu Hang, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, had previously underscored this shared commitment on July 4. She stated that Vietnam has always maintained a close working relationship with Cambodia to ensure border security and uphold peace and order while combating cross-border criminal activities.

“We look forward to continuing our cooperation with Cambodia in order to safeguard a border that represents peace, friendship, cooperation and development,” she said.

Pisey confirmed that Cambodia’s standpoint is identical, adding that the Kingdom has always partnered with Vietnam to secure and develop the border region. She spotlighted the tight-knit cooperation between the two nations, particularly evident in border demarcation works.

The preceding week saw Prime Minister Hun Sen deploy his bodyguard unit and relevant armed forces to the northeastern borders in response to the reported drone invasions on Cambodia’s sovereignty. The premier speculated that these drones could either belong to an insurgent group in Vietnam or be operated from a ship docked in another regional country.

By July 3, Minister of National Defence Tea Banh reported that border conditions had stabilised, and most of the deployed forces would be retreating to their bases.

Kin Phea, director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, noted that despite occasional minor hiccups, both countries generally maintain good cooperation along the borders.

Thong Mengdavid, a researcher with the Asian Vision Institute’s Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, commended Pham Thu Hang’s statements as evidence of Vietnam’s regard for the bilateral relationship. However, he emphasised that Cambodia must prioritise its national security, particularly in thwarting potential terrorism.

“Presently, neither Cambodia nor Vietnam can confirm the origins of these drones or discern their intentions. However, the unauthorised flight over Cambodia constitutes a violation of national sovereignty and a threat to its security,” he noted.

Mengdavid highlighted the strong cooperation between the two countries and their mutual efforts to mitigate any border-related issues.