The Cambodian, Lao and Vietnamese (CLV) national assemblies (NAs) are dedicated to fostering stronger and more effective cooperation among the three nations. 

The commitment, aimed particularly at enhancing the lives of residents in the CLV Development Triangle Area (CLV-DTA), was affirmed at the inaugural CLV parliamentary summit in the Lao capital Vientiane on December 5. 

Hosted by the Lao NA, the summit was presided over by its president Xaysomphone Phomvihane and Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith.

According to a press release from the Cambodian NA, Thongloun emphasised the historic significance of the meeting. He highlighted its role in enhancing parliamentary mechanisms in Cambodia and promoting the development of the CLV-DTA, established by the three governments in 1999. 

Thongloun commended the gathering for its role in advancing cooperation between the three countries, focusing particularly on improving life in the DTA. 

The press release noted that the current summit represented an advancement from previous meetings of expert committees from the three NAs.

Khuon Sudary, president of the Cambodian NA, confirmed that the summit aimed to enhance parliamentary procedures, strengthen cooperation and deepen the strategic partnership between the three countries. 

She said the collaboration reflects shared values of peacekeeping, prosperity, sustainable development and resilience.

She added that the CLV-DTA, initiated in 1999 by former Prime Minister Hun Sen, serves as a guide for transforming border areas into zones of development and harmony. It aims to strengthen people-to-people connections among the three countries, fostering peace and shared prosperity.

“Strengthening parliamentary mechanisms for involvement in the CLV-DTA demonstrates our strategic goal of fostering political, cultural, economic cooperation and security based on mutual respect and trust. This has so far brought numerous benefits to the people of the three countries,” stated Sudary.

In 2022, the presidents of the three NAs agreed to elevate cooperation within the CLV framework to the summit level. Hosted this year by Laos, subsequent meetings will rotate between the NAs of Vietnam and Cambodia.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, expressed optimism about the summit’s potential to enhance parliamentary processes and strengthen relations and people-to-people ties, thereby intensifying cooperation at all levels and in various fields.

He stated that the mechanism also aims to address challenges, particularly the mobilisation of financial resources. The effort is essential for building and developing the triangle into a hub for economics, trade, tourism and technology.

“I believe that promoting the DTA is crucial for enhancing connectivity between the three countries. Especially significant is the creation of an additional economic corridor, which has great development potential and can further boost trade exchanges,” he said.

Phea noted that more efforts are needed to maximise the benefits of the development area. Challenges include integrating Cambodia’s water and electricity infrastructure with the triangle and addressing the limited workforce in that region.

The DTA encompasses 13 provinces: five in Vietnam, four in Laos and four in Cambodia (Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Kratie and Stung Treng). The area is noted for its considerable potential in natural resources and biodiversity.