Cambodia and Laos have agreed to connect the former’s Preah Vihear and Ratanakkiri provinces with the latter’s Champasak and Attapeu, respectively, to facilitate people-to-people exchanges and improve cross-border relations.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Lao counterpart Sonexay Siphandone on February 13 during the former’s February 13-14 visit.

“We also agreed regarding the linking of Champasak with Preah Vihear, and between Attapeu and Ratanakkiri. This will favourably benefit the relationship between the peoples there,” Hun Sen said at a press conference after the meeting.

Hun Sen added that the discussion also covered improvements to land and air transport connections for tourism to provide more options to travellers between the two countries, as well as proposed high-speed rail links between Cambodia and Laos, and with other countries.

“We already know that Laos is like a battery full of electricity in ASEAN and Cambodia is a market that needs electricity from Laos. Therefore, we focused on cooperating on the development of the energy sector, both hydropower and on coal-related issues,” Hun Sen said.

He continued that the three agreements signed by Laos and Cambodia clearly show the two countries’ efforts to strengthen their friendship, solidarity and their “Comprehensive and Long-Lasting Strategic Partnership”.

“As stated by Sonexay, we will continue our efforts to work on border issues to develop a peaceful and cooperative border and resolve all issues in the future,” he said.

Sonexay said at the press conference that Hun Sen’s visit to Laos was very important to enhancing their relationship as comprehensive and long-term strategic partners.

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, suggested completing border demarcation and land marker planting work sooner, rather than later.

In modern times, there must be specific and clear state borders to facilitate people-to-people exchanges, border crossings and traffic, and development along the frontier, he explained.

“[Comprehensive and Long-Lasting Strategic Partnership] means all-round collaboration in economics, politics and even electricity, traffic and travel. So, by stepping up cooperation, we will be able to communicate more easily with each other, provide information, work together in all aspects, as mentioned earlier, including trade, along with regional and global affairs,” he told The Post on February 13.