A high level delegation from the National Assembly of Cambodia (NA) is currently engaged on an eight-day official visit to Vietnam and Laos. The trip seeks to strengthen traditional cooperation and relations, especially between the parliamentary institutions of the three nations.

Leng Peng Long, secretary-general of the NA General Secretariat, said that NA president Khuon Sudary is leading the delegation on the November 30 to December 7 mission. The visits are in response to invitations by the presidents of the national assemblies of both nations.

“The purpose of this visit is to strengthen and expand the traditional and fraternal relations of Cambodia-Vietnam and Cambodia-Laos cooperation and make it stronger in all aspects, particularly the relevant legislative and executive institutions,” said Peng Long.

He added that Sudary will be in Vietnam from November 30 to December 2, where she will meet with key leaders, including Vietnam’s President Vo Van Thuong and NA president Vuong Dinh Hue. In addition, she will visit the Tam Chuc pagoda in Hanam – the largest in the world – and met with provincial party authorities.

She will then travel on to Laos from December 2 to 4 to meet with senior Laos leaders, including President Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone and Lao NA president Saysomphone Phomvihane. In addition, she will meet with several Cambodian students who are studying in Laos.

From December 4 to 7, Sudary will lead a delegation to the first Cambodia-Vietnam-Laos (CVL) Parliamentary Summit in Vientiane. Hosted by Laos, it aims to examine the possibility of further strengthening and expanding cooperation between the three countries of the CLV Development Triangle Area (CLV-DTA), which was established in 1999, under the purview of then-Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Seun Sam, an international relations fellow at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, believed the visits will make a significant contribution to strengthening cooperation between the parliamentary bodies of the three countries.

He added that it is the Kingdom’s newly appointed NA president’s first trip abroad in her new capacity, and that it may be an opportunity for Cambodia to take valuable experience from the two neighbouring countries and apply them in the Kingdom, especially in terms of legislative framework. It may also pave the way for extended future cooperation.

“I think Sudary should share her intention to take care of any Vietnamese or Laos citizens who are living in Cambodia. In the past, when their heads of state of senior officials visited, we always assured them of this. This is important and will benefit our equal friendships,” he said.

He believed that strengthening cooperation under the CVL framework is important as the three nations share borders and can learn a great deal from one another, for example in development.

Ro Vannak, a geopolitical analyst, said that the NA president’s visit is traditional, and demonstrates the efforts of the three countries to strengthen cooperation and determine how to manage the parliamentarian work of their respective countries more effectively.