The Vietnamese leader said on June 24 that Vietnam and Cambodia have pledged not to allow any hostile forces to use their territories to harm the security of the other country, amid concerns from Western countries about the possibility that Cambodia will allow China to use its Ream Military Base to set up a military outpost in the disputed South China Sea (Vietnam calls it the East Sea).
“The two sides have always affirmed that they will not allow any hostile forces to use their territories to harm the other’s security,” Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai said at a ceremony to mark the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Cambodia held in Hanoi.
Emphasizing the geographical proximity and cultural and historical similarities between Vietnam and Cambodia, the Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister said that the government of the Kingdom of Cambodia is one of the first in the world to recognize the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam and actively supported the Vietnamese resistance during the Vietnam War.
Mr. Khai also recalled the fact that Vietnam “stands with the Patriotic Front to bring Cambodia out of the doom regime” when Cambodia fell into the Pol Pot genocide in 1979, although Vietnam was not yet promptly overcome the consequences of war.
“Vietnam’s support and help have contributed to turning Cambodia from a people suffering and separated due to war to a unified country with complete peace and development in all fields,” VnExpress quoted Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An as saying.
According to Ms. Men Sam An, the two countries’ relationship over the years has achieved many achievements in all fields, especially diplomacy, defense, trade, investment, and tourism. One of the historical achievements is that the two sides have basically completed the work of demarcating and planting land border markers, preserving and building a border of peace, friendship, cooperation, and development.
Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai said that Vietnam has maintained its leading position in ASEAN over the past time and is among the top five countries with the largest direct investment in Cambodia, with 188 valid investment projects with a total registered capital reaching $2.8 billion. Bilateral trade turnover in 2021 hit $9.54 billion, up 79.1% compared to 2020.
Mr. Khai added that cooperation in the field of security and defense “is increasingly substantive and effective, which is one of the important pillars in the relationship between the two countries.”
Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister said Vietnam’s consistent policy is to support an independent, peaceful, neutral, and developed Cambodia. The Vietnamese side attaches great importance to and gives high priority to the good neighborly relationship, traditional friendship, and comprehensive and long-term sustainable cooperation with Cambodia.
The affirmations of the leaders of Vietnam and Cambodia come at a time when many countries, especially the United States and Western countries, have expressed concern about the possibility that Cambodia has and is having tacit agreements, in which Cambodia allowed China to use Cambodia’s key military base in Ream as a military outpost, implementing a long-term plan to invade the South China Sea.
Vietnam is also said to be vying for influence over historic allies Cambodia and Laos, which have increasingly leaned toward China in recent years.