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Lao PM wraps up two-day visit

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Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Lao counterpart Phankham Viphavanh at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on Monday. SPM

Lao PM wraps up two-day visit

The Kingdom and Laos have committed to promoting cooperation and mutual support in regional and international forums, while the latter also pledged its support for Cambodia in its role as ASEAN chair next year.

The friendly gestures were made at a meeting on November 29 between Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Lao counterpart Phankham Viphavanh, who was on a two-day visit from November 29-30.

Phankham congratulated Hun Sen for orienting Cambodia towards development, saying he was surprised by how much Phnom Penh had grown since he last visited. He praised Hun Sen for a string of successes in all areas including the recent Asia-Europe Summit that Cambodia hosted and its upcoming ASEAN chairmanship in 2022, according to Hun Sen’s Facebook post.

“[Phankham] also expressed his support and pledged to cooperate with Cambodia to ensure that Cambodia chairs the ASEAN Summit successfully,” the post said

The two sides agreed to expand and strengthen bilateral cooperation and continue to communicate to ensure the completion of agreed-upon work as well as continue discussions regarding a more comprehensive partnership agreement.

The two premiers also urged the joint boundary commission to continue to work towards the goals set by the two governments to boost trade cooperation, cultural exchanges, tourism and other potential growth sectors for both countries.

“[Phankham] also requested that [Hun Sen] promote cooperation involving their two countries in both regional and international multilateral forums,” the post said, adding that Hun Sen agreed to do so.

Phankham also met with National Assembly president Heng Samrin during the visit on November 29. Samrin applauded the achievements of the strong friendship between the two countries across the framework of their parties, parliaments and governments.

Samrin said Phankham’s visit further strengthened the traditional friendship, solidarity and cooperation in all areas between the peoples of their two countries.

He added that the legislative bodies of the two countries have been engaged in continuous cooperation with each other despite the Covid-19 pandemic, via exchanges at the leadership level as well as expert committees and through the technical officials of the two bodies.

“Both [parliaments] are committed to further enhancing cooperation and mutual support in all circumstances and especially in regional and international inter-parliamentary forums,” Samrin said.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, told The Post on November 30 that Laos and Cambodia have always supported each other in regional and international affairs, including politics, security and diplomacy. He said the solid basis for relations between the two countries has not changed.

“The relationships between the senior leaders and between the institutions and peoples of the two countries are all appropriately close for two friendly neighbours,” he said. “We have hardly seen any conflict between the two countries because we have always respected each other’s sovereignty on the basis of the principle of peaceful co-existence.”

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