Vietnam and Cambodia once again affirmed to allow no third party to use their territories to harm the other, vowing to cooperate for the stability and security of each country.
|Vietnam's Defense Minister Phan Van Giang (L) and Cambodia's Defense Minister Tea Banh. Photo: QDND|
The consensus was reached at a joint statement meeting released in the visit paid to Phnom Penh on December 21-22 by Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and it was reaffirmed by two defense ministers Phan Van Giang of Vietnam and his counterpart Tea Banh during the visit.
The two countries agreed to strengthen defense ties under the aforementioned principle that was also declared by the two countries top leaders during the visit to Hanoi in October 2019 by Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen.
“The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in defense and security based on the principle of not allowing any hostile forces to use their respective territories to harm the other’s security,” said the statement.
In the statement and talks between the two defense ministers, they agreed to implement the existing agreements on defense and security cooperation with a focus on border management and protection and joint search and repatriation of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts missing in action in Cambodia.
Typical points of the joint statement include political trust, defense-security cooperation, economic ties, and education training.
The focal points are fully covered in the statement in the spirit of “good neighborliness, traditional friendship, comprehensive cooperation, and long-term stability.”
|Metfone and MB Bank sign cooperation at the attendance of President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Dec 22. Photo: The Dung/ Nguoi Lao Dong|
Vietnam – largest ASEAN investor in Cambodia
Vietnamese investors run 188 projects costing US$2.85 billion in Cambodia, being the biggest ASEAN investor in the neighboring country. The main investment fields are telecommunications, agriculture, energy, and finance banking.
Viettel and Thagrico are among the largest Vietnamese investors in the kingdom.
Viettel Cambodia or Metfone is now the leading mobile operator in Cambodia with nine million subscribers accounting for 60% of Cambodia’s population and 50% of the telecoms market. Its network covers 95% of Cambodian land.
Metfone is valued at more than US$1 billion and has contributed to the Government of Cambodia roughly $820 million, being one of the biggest contributors to the state budget. Its donations and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs accumulate $100 million, Metfone’s CEO Phung Van Cuong said at the meeting with President Phuc on December 22.
After 15 years of operating in Cambodia, Metfone has 3,000 employees and 30,000 others working with it.
Meanwhile, Thagrico, an affiliate of Truong Hai Auto Corporation (Thaco), has invested $388 million in agricultural projects in Cambodia. The money has been poured into banana, pineapple, mango, cow farming, 24 banana processing plants, solar farms, workers' houses, and vehicles.
Thaco’s Chairman Tran Ba Duong said in the meeting with President Phuc that Thagrico plans to invest an additional $500 million into agricultural projects there, earning about $500 million worth of exports/year.
Thagrico has employed around 15,000 residents, many of them are those of Vietnamese origin with a salary of $250-$350/month and living in well-equipped buildings for workers.
Cambodia’s Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon said Vietnamese investors’ rubber plantations have offered about 33,000 jobs and another 14,000 workers are hired for Vietnamese companies’ banana farms.
Vietnam-invested rubber projects earned $200 million in 11 months of 2021 and contributed more than half of exports from bananas.
In talks with Veng Sakhon, Vietnamese Deputy Agriculture Minister Le Quoc Doanh said Vietnam is the biggest importer of Cambodia’s agricultural products. He said Vietnam expected to speed up joint agricultural and seafood projects, including a $3-million project on tech transfer of aquaculture in Tonle Sap.
In cooperation, Vietnam will also offer tech transfer and training in agriculture.
Nguyen Thanh Dung, head of the Vietnam Business Club in Cambodia (VBCC) and director of Agribank Cambodia said Vietnamese companies and Vietnamese-Khmer businesses working in Cambodia have boosted CSR to support the Government of Cambodia in social welfare programs to improve residents, including those of Vietnamese origin.
Companies like Thagrico, Vietnam Rubber Group’s members, Thanh Cong Group, and Metfone have paid great attention to employing and building houses for Vietnamese people relocated from Tonle Sap.
In terms of trade, the two-way value might reach $10 billion in 2021, President Phuc said during the visit.
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