Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia will intensify cooperation in various areas for the benefit of their people and peace, stability, and development in the region and the world.
The commitment was made by Party leaders of the three countries at a meeting held in Hanoi today [Sept 26].
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong, President of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, and President of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith discussed “cooperation orientations in the coming time.”
They agreed on the importance of traditional relations, solidarity, and friendship among the three parties and three countries, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
In March 2021, the three governments decided to set up a joint master plan for socio-economic development in 2021-2030, covering specific projects and programs to connect the three economies from now throughout 2030, including tourism that is based on the motto “Three countries – One destination.”
|From left: General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong, President of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), and Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen at a meeting on Sept 26 in Hanoi. Photos: VNA|
The trilateral cooperation was enhanced through a plan on the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Area (CLV-DTA), which was established in 1999.
In 2018, prime ministers of the three countries committed to building “integrated, sustainable and prosperous CLV economies”, which would be located in the larger regional plan of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the ASEAN Post reported.
The CLV-DTA initially covered just 10 border provinces of the three countries. In 2009, the three countries decided to add three more provinces from each country to make it a total of 13 provinces. At a summit in 2018, the three leaders agreed to gradually expand the triangle area to cover all the territories of the three countries.
Over the past decade, the three economies have grown rapidly – Cambodia has seen a steady average growth of 7%, Vietnam has transformed from one of the poorest nations in the world to one of the wealthiest economies in the region, while Lao PDR has been described by the World Bank as one of the fastest-growing nations in the region.
The reasons for growth vary from country to country, but the role of the CLV-DTA has been largely underrated.
The CLV-DTA has proved to be useful in developing partnerships too. According to a paper by Vannarith Chheang from the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Japan has been the main supporter of the CLV-DTA, pledging US$1.5 billion to the partnership for the development of CLV countries in the fields of education, irrigation, and infrastructure during its early days.
The good relationship between these countries has helped increase the inflow of investments among them. Vietnam for example has invested nearly US$4 billion in Cambodia and more than US$5 billion in Laos.
Vietnam has also funded infrastructure projects in the two neighboring countries and granted numerous social projects.
The role of the CLV-DTA isn’t just about economic cooperation but has expanded to cooperation over security as well as social and cultural development, according to an article written by Eijas Ariffin on the ASEAN Post.
|The three leaders in Hanoi.|
Vietnam and Laos have set up a diplomatic relationship in 1962. Between 2016 and 2020, Vietnam was Laos’ third-largest investor with registered capital of US$4.2 billion, up 35% against 2010. In 2020, Vietnam's investment capital to Lao rocketed by 130% on-year.
“The bilateral cooperation ties in politics have climbed to new heights witnessed by the regular exchange of high-level visits of leaders from the two parties and governments,” The Vientiane Times reported.
The relations between Vietnam and Cambodia, which were set up in 1967, have witnessed expanded linkages in all areas beyond political and security aspects.
According to the Phnom Penh Post, the two-way trade topped $6 billion in the first seven months of 2021, more than double that in the same period last year while both countries grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic and its more virulent variants.
The bilateral trade will likely be on track to hit the $10 billion target – set by the leaders of both governments for 2023 – by the end of this year.