Laos, Cambodia mark dawn of new era in bilateral cooperation

The Lao and Cambodian governments have signed a joint communiqué, marking the start of a new era in relations and cooperation between the neighbouring nations.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and his Cambodian counterpart, Hun Sen signed the communiqué on September 12, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, outlining the new directions of the bilateral cooperation which the two countries plan to implement over upcoming years. According to information provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to local media on September 16, one of the key initiatives is the Lao and Cambodian governments agreeing to upgrade the bilateral relationship to a comprehensive and long-lasting strategic partnership.

In this regard, the development of cooperation between Laos and Cambodian will be based on international law, in particular, the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and Asean Charter.
On top of that, both sides reaffirmed their respect for the principles of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, non-use of force or threat of force, and peaceful settlement of disputes. The two countries also reaffirmed not to allow any foreign political group or armed forces to use their respective territory against the other side.
In relation to the maintenance of peace at the border and addressing unsettled border areas, Laos and Cambodia agreed to task the Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) of the two countries to jointly draft a treaty on the Demarcation of the Boundary pertaining to the segments where both sides have completed the border demarcation, amounting to 86 percent of the border between the two countries.
For the remaining undesignated border segments, both sides agreed to continue discussions on ways to peacefully resolve the issues as soon as possible.
Both sides agreed to task the JBC of the two countries to discuss erecting complementary boundary pillars in the above-said 86 percent border segments and to produce a border map showing the boundary line accepted by the two sides for attachment to the above-said Treaty.
In order to maintain peace at the border, Laos and Cambodia agreed to encourage their respective relevant authorities, at central and local levels, to carry out their duties with a high sense of responsibility to ensure peace and stability along the common borderline and to turn it into a border of lasting peace, friendship and cooperation.
Regarding economic cooperation, Laos and Cambodian agreed to increase trade and investment exchanges between the two countries and promote collaboration in areas such as agriculture, forestry and fishery, finance, transport, telecommunications, labour and vocational training, hydrometeorology and the environment.
Cooperation in the areas of social welfare, education and sports, information, culture and tourism, healthcare and youth affairs will also support the new bilateral framework.
Laos and Cambodian agreed to promote energy cooperation further, particularly through increasing bilateral trade in electricity generated either by coal, hydropower and other renewable sources based on the capacity of the two sides.
To this end, both sides concurred to encourage their relevant authorities to ensure that construction of high-voltage power transmission lines between Laos and Cambodia are completed as agreed and according to the plan.
Both sides expressed a common desire to encourage regional energy trade and shared the view that energy trade between Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam could be promoted through the establishment of a joint transmission network of the three countries.
In another key initiative of the joint communique, Laos and Cambodia agreed to promote sister city cooperation between the capital cities of Vientiane and Phnom Penh and between Champassak province and Siem Reap province. – Vientiane Times