Promoting extensive connectivity for sustainable development

Nhan Dan newspaper correspondent Ha Thanh Giang joined Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and a high level Vietnamese delegation to attend the ninth Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Area Summit (CLV 9) in Siem Reap, Cambodia on November 23-24. Here he recounts the momentous trip.

The Prime Ministers signed the CLV 9 joint declaration.  (Photo: VGP)
The Prime Ministers signed the CLV 9 joint declaration. (Photo: VGP)

>>> Joint Declaration of the 9th CLV Summit

Siem Reap is known as Cambodia’s most popular tourist attraction and is home to many ancient relic complexes of mankind, including the Temple of Angkor Wat, the central feature of the Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site; Angkor Thorn, renowned for its temples, in particular the Bayon; and Tonlé Sap, a seasonally inundated freshwater lake, with abundant sources of water and wildlife. Siem Reap is imbued with Cambodian cultural identities, it is the land of Apsara dances with captivating and graceful moves.

Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam share a lot of advantages in terms of geological location, natural resources, human resources, cultures imbued with national identities, and neighbouring borderlines with pairs of border gates and border economic zones, while lying along the important economic corridor axes of the region, thereby ensuring favourable conditions for trade connectivity, tourism and the establishment of long-standing friendly relations.

The Development Triangle Area is a border junction area of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, constituted by 13 provinces, including Ratanakiri, Stung Treng, Mondulkiri and Kratie (Eastern Cambodia); Attapu, Salavan, Sekong and Champasak (Southern Laos); and Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong and Binh Phuoc (Vietnam). The localities in the region are similar in regards to the level of development, political stability and relatively energetic economies with high growth rates, providing a premise for furthering links and improving competitiveness as well as attractiveness to foreign investors. Despite lying outside the triangle area, Siem Reap was selected by Cambodia as the host city for the CLV 9 with a view to promoting tourism.

At the summit, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc spoke highly of the cooperation outcomes between the three countries, noting that the CLV forum was an important premise for the building of socio-economic development policies, including the mobilisation of economic sectors. Along with the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community, the CLV relations have grown and been tightened for mutual benefit, solidarity and development. The PM affirmed Vietnam’s commitment to exerting efforts for the development of the region, proposing six measures to fully tap into advantages contributing to peace, stability and the prosperous development of each nation, and putting forward seven recommendations aiming to strengthen comprehensive regional cooperation. Those initiatives by the Vietnamese leader won high appreciation from the Cambodian and Lao sides.
All three Cambodian, Lao and Vietnamese PMs agreed to boost CLV cooperation on the basis of long-standing friendly neighbourly relations and mutual benefits, solidarity and understanding, towards comprehensive and sustainable regional development, improvements in people’s lives and closer coordination between ASEAN nations in order to realise the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

PM Phuc suggested Vietnam’s military-run telecom operator Viettel invest in modernising the three countries’ telecom networks using 4G technologies, support the building of e-government for the three nations and apply the same call charges between Viettel subscribers for the three countries. At present, Viettel is operating the Metfone mobile network in Cambodia and the Unitel network in Laos. Cambodian PM Hun Sen recommended Viettel support the building of a videoconference between the three PMs and their subordinates so as to enhance information exchanges and save money for the budget.

At a joint media conference right after the conclusion of the summit, the PMs highlighted the issue of energy connectivity. Accordingly, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam will strengthen power grid connections for the purchase and sale of power, aiming to meet the demand for power growth and optimise the power potential and advantages in each country. Vietnam, with experience in developing power transmission grids, has the opportunity to take the lead in promoting this connectivity. Laos and Cambodia also praised Vietnam’s goodwill as PM Phuc suggested facilitating vocational training for labourers in the Development Triangle Area.

The CLV 9 offered a good opportunity for Vietnam to tighten friendship, solidarity and cooperation with the two neighbouring countries. During their bilateral meeting, Lao PM Thongloun Sisoulith gave Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc a warm welcome, expressing his pleasure to meet the Vietnamese leader again only a few days after returning from the seventh Ayeyawady–Chao Phraya–Mekong Economic Cooperation Summit (ACMECS7), the eighth Cambodia–Laos–Myanmar–Vietnam Summit (CLMV8) and the World Economic Forum on the Mekong Region (WEF-Mekong) in Hanoi. PM Sisoulith said that after the CLV 9, he would return to his country and receive visiting Vietnamese General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, hailing the official state visit to Laos made by the Vietnamese Party chief as being of significance to the long-standing relations, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries. During talks with Cambodian PM Hun Sen, PM Phuc affirmed the Vietnamese Party and State’s consistent policy of wishing to consolidate and develop relations with Cambodia in the spirit of the traditional friendship, comprehensive cooperation and sustainable development.

Despite a busy working schedule, PM Phuc still arranged time to meet the community of Vietnamese Cambodians in Siem Reap. Sincerely asking about their lives, the government leader reiterated the Party and State’s constant attention to expatriates, suggesting the development orientations for the community and asking them to ensure their children’s academic study. Being touched by the sentiments and care from the PM, the Vietnamese-Cambodians promised to overcome difficulties in life, comply with the native law and make continuous contributions to the friendship between the two countries.

The CLV 9 came to a successful conclusion with active contributions made by PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the high-level Vietnamese delegation. The summit issued a Joint Declaration featuring a number of crucial points, including the proposal of 15 priority projects in the three countries to call for investment from development partners. The efforts to promote cooperation at the CLV 9 will not be limited within the Development Triangle Area but will spread across other localities of the three nations.