Prime Minister Hun Manet and Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong have agreed to increase cooperation in key areas between their two nations, especially in the tourism sector. 

The two leaders met on the afternoon of December 11, the first day of Manet’s two-day visit.

According to Manet’s social media post later that day, Thuong lauded his maiden visit to the neighbouring country and offered congratulations on his election as vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) Central Committee, during its 44th congress over the weekend.

“This visit by the head of the Cambodian government aims to deepen the relationship between Cambodia and Vietnam and the peoples of our two countries,” the post quoted Thuong as saying.

“Under the leadership of the new generation government of the prime minister, Cambodia will continue to develop itself and grow even more,” he added.

Manet informed Thoung of the Kingdom’s plans to boost tourism cooperation.

“We will increase cooperation in key sectors, especially the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam [CLV] Triangle Tourist sector: ‘Three countries, one destination package’,” said the premier.

Earlier that day, Manet also held talks with Vietnamese National Assembly chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, saying that both sides hailed the progress of excellent diplomatic relations over the past 56 years. 

Hue regarded the visit as contributing to strengthening the relationship and to collaboration between Cambodia and Vietnam, in all sectors. 

He expressed his belief that Cambodia will move forward with the vision of becoming an upper-middle income country by 2030 and a high-income one by 2050. 

At a state banquet hosted by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Manet delivered a short speech, recalling that the excellent traditional relationship between Cambodia and Vietnam has been nurtured and fostered by the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk, former Prime Minister Hun Sen and himself. 

“This is a historical truth that no reactionary forces have ever distorted. It is a relationship that nurtures the spirits and hearts of the younger generations,” he added. 

Seun Sam, a policy researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, was of the view that it is important for Cambodia and Vietnam to increase cooperation, as many Cambodian provinces – Tbong Khmum, Kampong Cham, Prey Veng and Kandal – border Vietnam. Therefore, Cambodian goods such as rice, corn and cassava tend to be sold to Vietnamese markets while Vietnamese vegetables and fish are commonly imported into the Kingdom.

“Despite some lingering distrust of border and historical issues, the relationship between the two nations remains indispensable. Cambodia needs Vietnam, and vice versa, as they share a border. They need to collaborate and communicate well,” he added, noting that the current relationship has improved. 

Sam lauded the Cambodian government for its flexibility in the face of competition for influence between Vietnam and China, saying the Kingdom can get along with both countries. 

He hailed the CLV Triangle Tourist project, suggesting that the Cambodian side strengthen international affairs, with the common goal of increasing the number of visitors.