Minister of Interior Sar Kheng on Wednesday began a five-day visit to Ho Chi Minh City, on which border issues and the continued cooperation between Cambodia and Vietnam are to be discussed.
His visit comes after Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc last month agreed to speed up the demarcation of the remaining unmarked 16 per cent of the land border “based on the spirit of friendship and good neighbourliness”.
The Minister of Interior is leading a delegation to Ho Chi Minh City to attend high-level meetings, Sar Kheng posted on his official Facebook page on Wednesday.
“The first meeting is the 10th meeting on cooperation and development in provinces along the border between Cambodia and Vietnam, which two years ago Cambodia hosted, while this year the Vietnamese are holding it,” he said.
The second meeting, he said, is to be on the continued cooperation this year between the Cambodian Ministry of Interior and the Police Ministry of Vietnam – a meeting each also takes turns to host.
Phan Sophanit, the director-general of the General Department of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Interior, told The Post that Sar Kheng’s visit came at the invitation of Vietnam and is set to last five days from Wednesday to Monday in Ho Chi Minh City.
Cambodia’s Border Commission chairman Var Kimhong could not be reached for comment regarding developments in the border demarcation process.
A joint statement was issued after the 10th meeting of Cooperation and Development of Provinces located along the Cambodia-Vietnam Border, which was chaired by Sar Kheng and Vietnamese foreign affairs minister Pham Binh Minh and held on Wednesday and Thursday in Ho Chi Minh City.
It said both sides stressed the importance of maintaining friendly relations and cooperation in provinces along the 1,270km border.
The statement said both countries highly appreciated the significance of security and defence cooperation in maintaining the peace, stability and security of each country.
It again stressed that each nation will not permit any organisation or individual to use the territory of one country to damage the national security and stability of the other.
The two countries agreed to upgrade the Meun Chey-Teun Nam border checkpoint in Cambodia’s Prey Veng province to international status, which will be ready for inauguration in due course.
They also agreed to upgrade the Bos Mon-Phuc Teun border checkpoint in Svay Rieng province to a bilateral border checkpoint.
The Cambodian and Vietnamese governments have further agreed to build roads and bridges across the border and to set out joint goals aiming to strengthen and promote cooperation in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Hun Manet, deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and commander of its infantry, said border issues are something all Cambodians are responsible for.
Manet’s comments came at a military and security conference at the Military Region 5 base in Battambang province on Wednesday.
“The border issue is something we have to be responsible for together. Territorial defence must be made in all forms, not just fighting [to defend] Preah Vihear. We call them border issues because there are many forms to defending [our] territory."
“The transformation of a battlefield into a friendship and economic area is a goal of the government. But do not do anything that loses advantage because this border issue has been long-lasting. So please pay attention to the looking after and stationing of our forces,” he said.