National Assembly president Heng Samrin left on Tuesday to visit Vietnam for three days followed by a three-day visit to Laos at the invitation of the presidents of the two countries’ national assemblies.
From May 28 to 30, Samrin will meet the Chairwoman of the National Assembly of Vietnam, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and other officials.
The two countries are set to sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation to strengthen and expand relations between the two national assemblies.
In Laos from May 30 to June 1, Samrin is due to meet the President of the National Assembly of Laos Pany Yathotou and Laos President Bounnhang Vorachith.
At the meetings, Cambodia and Laos will exchange their experiences to foster deeper and more comprehensive cooperation between the national assemblies of the two countries.
National Assembly spokesman Leng Peng Long could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Political analyst Kin Phea, the director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said a visit to a foreign national assembly or the president of the Senate is traditionally aimed at strengthening and expanding ties and friendship between the two countries.
He said that generally, the parties will discuss the framework of cooperation on legislation and will focus more on technical work than political or strategic issues.
“It is different from the prime minister’s visit. The main aim is just to contribute to cooperation and bilateral relations between the countries’ legislative and executive bodies. It is not especially remarkable,” Phea said.
The reason Samrin is meeting more political dignitaries in Vietnam than in Laos, he said, is that the Vietnamese dignitaries have more experience cooperating in trade and other fields with Cambodia than Laos does.
“If we talk about the political aspect, our relations with Vietnam is more comprehensively rooted than with Laos, because Vietnam has a long history of struggle and a shared background with Cambodia."
“Vietnam helped liberate Cambodia from Pol Pot’s genocidal regime and Samdech Heng Samrin is one of the dignitaries who has strong support from Vietnam."
“It relates to both the historical and political context. And if we look at Laos, it is less significant,” Phea said.