Prime Minister Hun Sen called for continued friendly relations with Vietnam during a border market launch in Tbong Khmum province, while the Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister echoed the premier’s sentiments, especially with border demarcation.
The prime minister was speaking at the launch of the market on Tuesday, along the Cambodia-Vietnam border, and thanked the neighboring country for assisting the Kingdom during the Khmer Rouge regime.
“Thank you, Vietnamese government and Vietnamese people for saving us from the Pol Pot regime and the support for Cambodia's socio-economic development,” he said. “I hope that our relations will move forward, as well as people-to-people relations.”
At the same ceremony, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung also called for sustained friendship with Cambodia and highlighted the success of the two countries’ border demarcation efforts.
Geopolitical observers have said that Cambodia’s increased camaraderie with China, has soured relations with Vietnam. Whereas in Cambodia, the border demarcation process along the Vietnamese border has been a political flashpoint.
Prime Minister Hun Sen signed a supplementary border treaty in October, which was promulgated by the King in early December. Details of the border treaty have not been made public, increasing public anxiety over an already contentious issue.
Political analyst Meas Nee said the lack of clarity over the border treaty and planned settlement of ethnic Vietnamese fishing communities has caused unease among Cambodians.
He added that Cambodia was now at risk of being pulled in two different directions in its relations with China and Vietnam. He said it was up to Cambodia and Vietnam to mend their bilateral ties.
“I think this is a strategy in which the two nations what to strengthen relations so that Vietnam does not want to see Cambodia turn to China or where Cambodia walks away from Vietnam.”
However, ruling party Senator Sok Eysan said Cambodia and Vietnam were close allies and that the cooperation between the two countries would only continue.
“It demands that [the two nations] need to be side by side,” he said. “It requires all measures to enforce a lasting friendship, solidarity and cooperation for the interests of both nations.”