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Cambodia-Vietnam ties should remain stable after CPV Congress

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The 14th plenum of the Party Central Committee held from December 14-18 decides to hold the 13th National Party Congress from January 25 to February 2. VIETNAM NEWS AGENCY/VIET NAM NEWS

Cambodia-Vietnam ties should remain stable after CPV Congress

The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) will convene its 13th National Congress in Hanoi from January 25 to February 2. The decision was made by the Party Central Committee during its 14th Plenum held from December 14 to 18 in Hanoi.

The 13th National Congress will vote to select the 180 members of the Central Committee from 1,587 delegates from across the country, which in turn will pick the Politburo from that group for the party general secretary.

At the plenum, the committee determined reports to be presented to the Congress, including a political report, an evaluation of the implementation of the 2011-2020 socio-economic development strategy and formation of strategies for 2021-2030, a review of the realisation of socio-economic tasks during the 2016-2020 period and tasks for 2021-2025.

Regarding 10-year development strategy for 2011-2020, the global and regional situations became more complicated than was forecast. In the last year of the strategic period, the Covid-19 pandemic seriously affected the world economy, causing recessions on a scale that has not occurred in decades, with consequences set to last for many years.

Domestically, the economy was replete with risks; inflation was high; public debt increased rapidly, and the non-performing debt ratio was high. Production and business faced many difficulties. As a result, external influences increased and competition was increasingly fierce. The economy was open but resilience was still limited. Climate change, natural disasters and epidemics proved complicated and vexing, especially in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic severely affected almost all sectors, disrupting economic and social activities and bringing hardships in many people’s lives.

In this situation, the party, the public and the army have joined forces, making outstanding efforts to combat the outbreak, mobilising participation from the entire political system and business community and achieving important results in almost all fields.

Economic growth was maintained at a relatively high level. During 2011-2015, gross domestic product (GDP) growth reached an average of 5.9 per cent per year; in the period 2016-2019, growth reached 6.8 per cent per year. In 2020, growth was muted due to the pandemic but is estimated to have exceeded 2 per cent. For the whole of 2011- 2020, GDP growth is expected to have reached 5.9 per cent per year, putting Vietnam in a group of high-growth countries. The scale of GDP increased by a multiple of 2.4, from $116 billion in 2010 to $268.4 billion in 2020. GDP per capita increased from $1,331 in 2010 to about $2,750 in 2020.

Total import and export turnover more than tripled, from $157.1 billion in 2010 to $517 billion in 2019. Due to the impact of Covid-19 in 2020, trade volumes rose only to $527 billion, roughly 190 per cent of GDP. Exports increased rapidly, from $72.2 billion in 2010 to $267 billion in 2020, an average increase of 14 per cent per year, driving economic growth.

Foreign relations and international integration have been proactively implemented, improving Vietnam’s reputation and position in the international arena. Through cooperation with neighbouring countries, the government has sought to resolve border disputes in a spirit of peace and friendship and according to diplomatic processes and international law.

Currently, the state has diplomatic relations with 111 countries, having established 98 foreign embassies and consulates around the world while 95 such missions have been operating within Vietnamese territory.

As neighbouring countries, Cambodia and Vietnam share land and sea borders and have a historically strong relationship of solidarity and helping each other. This has led to long-term, sustainable cooperation and the achievement of many mutual goals.

Leaders of the two countries have acknowledged the historical significance of the signing of two legal documents recognising the achievement of demarcation of 84 per cent of their land border. At the same time, they have agreed to accelerate completion of necessary procedures for the two accords to take effect while continuing to negotiate settlement of the remaining border areas, affirming the goal of ensuring a peaceful border. Leaders have also vowed to coordinate for effective support of each other in international and regional issues, especially within the framework of ASEAN cooperation and ASEAN-led mechanisms, the UN, World Trade Organisation, Asia-Europe Meeting and Mekong sub-region cooperation mechanisms.

Last year, despite the impact of the pandemic, bilateral trade between Cambodia and Vietnam grew 0.84 per cent over 2019 and reached $5.33 billion. Vietnam has 184 investment projects in Cambodia accounting for a total capital of $2.76 billion, ranking third (after Russia and Laos) among 78 countries and territories in which Vietnam has made foreign direct investment. Vietnamese investments in Cambodia began in 2005, and from 2015 to the present, has achieved up to 10 projects worth between $30-70 million per year, mainly in agriculture, banking and telecommunications. The two countries also witnessed developments in tourism, people-to-people cultural exchanges, education training and health collaboration. With a long history of goodwill from both countries, bilateral relations will continue to develop and reach new levels in the future.

After the 13th Congress, Vietnam will have a new leadership team, but I believe the country will continue to implement the next policy cycle with continuity, supporting peaceful, cooperative development and prosperity.

Cambodia-Vietnam relations are vital to the protection and development of each country, bringing practical benefits to their peoples and positively contributing to the region and the world.

With a long tradition of solidarity and achievements, together with the political determination of senior leaders of both countries, it seems reasonable to expect good relations and long-term sustainable cooperation between Cambodia and Vietnam will overcome challenges and continue to produce meaningful results.

Uch Leang is a researcher for the Department of Asian, African and Middle Eastern Studies at the International Relations Institute of the Royal Academy of Cambodia.

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