Leaders of the national assemblies (NA) of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (CLV) have affirmed their dedication to enhancing parliamentary collaboration and partnership in pursuit of the shared interests of their respective populations. 

This was evident during a summit held in Laos on December 6, with a subsequent press release on December 7 underscoring their determination to enhance ties for the mutual benefit of the three nations.

"The [NAs] are dedicated to supervising law implementation and addressing lingering challenges for the collective well-being of the residents in the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Area [CLV-DTA]," the press release read.

Cambodian NA president Khuon Sudary said she wants to see the development triangle play a strategic role. Her vision is to facilitate change by connecting the region to a vibrant economic centre, attracting investment, supporting production networks and contributing to socio-economic development across the broader sub-region. This is particularly crucial amid the uncertainties of the post-pandemic era and the global context.

She headed a delegation participating in the summit themed "Strengthening the Role of Parliaments in Promoting Comprehensive Cooperation among the CLV".

Proposing a focus on economic growth, she noted the region's abundant natural resources and biodiversity.

"We must promote digital trade, bolster the capacities and resilience of MSMEs and establish an innovative centre within the CLV, aligning with the vision of [former Prime Minister] Hun Sen, president of the Supreme Privy Council to the King," she said.

"The objective of this centre is to transform border areas into zones of cooperation and harmony, fostering people-to-people connections on the journey toward peace, peaceful co-existence and common prosperity," she said.

The CLV-DTA, formed in 1999, comprises 13 provinces: four in Cambodia (Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Kratie and Stung Treng); four in Laos and five in Vietnam. This triangle holds promise for economic opportunities, tourism and cultural richness.

Kin Phea, director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that the CLV summit aims to enhance parliamentary mechanisms, fostering collaboration among the local governments in the area. The focus is on strengthening parliamentary and people-to-people relations across all levels and sectors.

He noted that the region faces challenges in fully capitalising on the DTA, particularly regarding the connectivity of infrastructure, roads, water and electricity from Cambodia to the DTA. Additionally, the number of Cambodian workers in the area remains limited.

Sudary, Lao NA president Xaysomphone Phomvihane and Vietnamese NA chairman Vuong Dinh Hue presided over the summit’s closing ceremony, where they signed a joint statement summarising the outcomes of the inaugural CLV summit. The Vietnamese NA is set to host the second summit in 2025.