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Dec 19, 2021 / 19:49

Preserving Vietnam-Cambodia relations requires efforts from both sides: Ambassador

Both countries should focus more on building bonds that foster friendship and create the bedrock for good neighborliness to solidify a healthy relationship.

Vietnam and Cambodia relations have been growing for the past decades despite ups and downs, Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia Nguyen Huy Tang talked of the ties between the two neighboring countries.

Preserving and enhancing such good traditional relations require efforts from both countries, Tang told the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) ahead of the two-day visit to Cambodia starting on December 21 paid by Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the invitation of King Norodom Sihamoni.

Vietnam and Cambodia will commemorate the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties in 2022.

During his visit, President Phuc is scheduled to meet King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk. He will also meet with Prime Minister Hun Sen, Senate President Say Chhum, and National Assembly President Heng Samrin.

As scheduled, Assembly President Heng Samrin and State President Phuc will witness the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the new administrative building of the National Assembly.

The Vietnamese leader will also lay wreaths at the Independence Monument, and the Royal Statue of the Late King-Father Norodom Sihanouk in Phnom Penh, according to Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP).

According to Ambassador Nguyen Huy Tang, to head towards the celebrations, the two countries will focus on the following issues, namely promoting political trust to guide the comprehensive relations; tightening security, defense, and diplomatic ties through cooperation in regional and international forums; boosting economic ties; enhancing cooperation in culture, education, science-technology, health, and people-to-people links; strengthening relations among localities, especially bordering areas.

 Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Cambodia's PM Hun Sen in Hanoi in October 2019. Photo: Baoquocte

Reinforcing trust

Vietnam and Cambodia share land and sea borders. To solidify a healthy relationship, both countries should focus more on building bonds that foster friendship and create the bedrock for good neighborliness, according to Asia Times.

While bonds can be built on past sacrifices, they can also be built through investment in the future such as enhancement of people-to-people exchanges, mutual understanding, and mutual respect.

Consolidating mutual trust is time-consuming and requires a lot of investment but still, it costs less than facing the challenges of conflicts and instabilities.

Inspiration can be taken from the longstanding program called the “Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program” (SSEAYP) funded by the Japanese government to gather youth from Southeast Asian countries and Japan for an intensive period of exchanges.

Probably, Cambodia and Vietnam could create a “Ship for Mekong Youth Friendship Program” gathering youth on a ship journey from Vietnam’s Mekong delta up to Cambodia’s Tonle Sap to create opportunities for the young people to open their hearts to learn from one another on topics from culture to issues affecting the region such as climate change and its impact on the livelihood of people in the region.

The two countries could also consider setting up an annual Cambodia-Vietnam Student Conference by emulating the like of the Japan-America Student Conference (JASC), which is a student-led program, gathering students from both countries from various backgrounds to the rotating host country for site visits and to conduct in-depth exchanges and debates on bilateral relations.