The leaders of Cambodia and Laos announced their joint commitment to enhancing the “already excellent” relations between the two neighbouring nations.
Prime Minister Hun Sen and Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith met at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on May 4. During his state visit, Thongloun will also attend the May 5 opening ceremony of the 32nd SEA Games.
Thongloun said it would be an honour to witness the opening of the biennial multi-sports events, according to Hun Sen’s personal assistant Eang Sophalleth.
“He believes that Cambodia will find great success as it hosts the games, and expects the Kingdom to earn many gold medals,” Sophalleth told reporters after the meeting.
He said Thongloun had offered his thanks to Hun Sen and the people of Cambodia for their support of Laos’ economy and health sector.
“Relations between Laos and Cambodia are at the top, but we are united in our commitment to take it to even higher level. We intend to implement existing agreements and seek to cooperate further in the areas of tourism, investment and security. In addition, we are prepared to offer a unified response to natural disasters,” he quoted the Lao president as saying.
Sophalleth said Hun Sen had agreed with Thongloun, and would work to deepen the relationship.
Hun Sen requested that institutions from both governments examine the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) in order to attract increased investment.
Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on May 4 that Cambodia and Laos maintained a long history of cooperation, which is likely to be amplified by the connection of China, Laos and Cambodia via a high-speed rail line.
“We benefit from a win-win agreement between Laos and Cambodia. We have a seaport, which they [Laos] lack, and they have a shared border with China, which we lack. These connections facilitate the flow of goods and investment,” he said.
“These opportunities will increase once the deep-water port in Sihanoukville is linked to the rail network in Laos. This is something that both countries should be pushing for,” he added.
Hun Sen met with Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone in February to discuss tourist connectivity by road and air, in order to give international visitors the chance to visit both countries. The two prime ministers also discussed high-speed railway connectivity between Cambodia and Laos.