Promoting comprehensive connectivity and economic growth in CLV development triangle area

Tuesday, 2016-11-22 11:54:03
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Heads of SOM delegations sign the minutes of their meeting in Dak Nong province earlier this month.
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NDO—Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and a high-level Vietnamese delegation will take part in the ninth Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV) Development Triangle Area Summit in Siem Reap, Cambodia from November 23-24 at the invitation of Cambodian PM Samdech Techo Hun Sen. On the occasion, Deputy Foreign Minister Vu Hong Nam answered media queries about the meeting.

Q: What are the achievements brought about by CLV development triangle area cooperation over the past few years?

A: In my opinion, the biggest achievement is that the CLV development triangle area cooperation has proved itself to be an extremely effective cooperative mechanism between the three neighbouring countries: Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. CLV is the first non-military cooperative forum between the three nations, who have a tradition of working closely together in their past struggles for national independence. Now, the three countries continue to affirm their need as well as their ability to connect and cooperate for the development and prosperity of each nation.

Situated on the Indochinese Peninsula, the three countries have mutually complementary assets. Since its inception, the CLV cooperative forum has significantly benefitted all the participants, with connectivity and mutual complementation as its most conspicuous achievement. Thanks to visa exemption policies, people on the Indochinese Peninsula can now feel free to travel across the region, which was unprecedented previously, paving the way for more vibrant people-to-people exchanges than ever before.

Annually, about one million Vietnamese nationals arrive in Laos and Cambodia for the purposes of both sightseeing and visiting their relatives, contributing huge tourism-based profits to the economies of the two neighbouring countries and of Vietnam as well. Concerning aviation connections, there are about twenty daily flights connecting Vietnamese and Cambodian sites and nearly ten Vietnam-Laos flights, which reflects an unprecedented dynamism in the history of the relations between the three countries. Owing to connectivity policies, we have an open border, serving trade as well as people-to-people exchange activities.

The three countries’ traffic systems have already been connected, with roads linking border gates and Vietnam’s economic centres and big cities in Laos and Cambodia, and bridges bringing Cambodia closer to Laos and Vietnam, thereby giving a boost to the development of the three countries’ road traffic conditions. Open and consistent policies have created favourable conditions for the dynamic development of trade and investment activities in the CLV area. Two-way trade between Vietnam and Laos, as well as between Vietnam and Cambodia, has grown steadily, reaching from US$2-3 billion, which is very encouraging from the startup perspective of their economic connectivity. In addition, CLV cooperation has also seen remarkable achievements in the fields of banking, education and healthcare.

CLV co-operation has created a comprehensive connectivity, contributing to accelerating the economic development of the development triangle area and improving the lives of regional residents, thereby affirming the indispensable role of the CLV mechanism to the development of the triangle area as a whole and the three countries in particular.

Q: What have been Vietnam’s contributions to the CLV cooperative mechanism?

A: As an outstanding economy in the region, Vietnam has demonstrated a proactive leading role in the spirit of cooperating equally and respecting the sentiments and traditional ties between the peoples of the three brother countries. Over the past seventeen years, the three economies have become coherent in all respects. Currently, Vietnamese firms are operating 183 investment projects in Laos, including 48 projects in the development triangle area and 248 investment projects in Cambodia, 61 of which are in the triangle area. Businesses from the S-shaped country are pioneering investment in the areas of banking, agriculture and telecommunications.

Vietnam’s support for education and healthcare has also contributed to developing these fields in the triangle area. For example, the Central Highlands regional general hospital in the province of Dak Lak has helped to improve the medical and health indicators for the peoples of the three countries. Particularly, Vietnam’s participation in policy-making has developed CLV into a vibrant and creative forum. Most of Vietnam’s ministries and agencies have made contributions to the development triangle area cooperation. Vietnam is working with Lao and Cambodian friends to develop a master plan for the area’s socioeconomic development in the 2010-2020 period.

Q: How has Vietnam prepared for its participation in the upcoming Summit?

A: From October 31 to November 1, Vietnam successfully chaired the 11th Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) of the CLV development triangle area and the meetings of four subcommittees on security and foreign affairs, economics, society and the environment and provincial coordination, in the province of Dak Nong, aiming to review the completed work and develop an agenda for the summit scheduled for tomorrow. Earlier, on September 21, Vietnam also successfully organised the third conference of the three countries’ committees for national defence and security.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has directly instructed ministries and agencies to thoroughly review Vietnam’s cooperation with Laos and Cambodia, aiming to evaluate their positive aspects, to unveil the reasons for delays and to seek measures to strongly boost CLV cooperation in the time ahead. The Government leader has insisted on new ideas and initiatives to create new transformative steps in the relations between the three nations. In addition to signing a number of documents in Siem Reap, the leaders will discuss and devise a list of fifteen projects to be prioritised for cooperation so that the three countries can mobilise investment accordingly.