Phnom Penh (Rasmei Kampuchea Daily/ANN) - Vietnam's Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh sees a "new plane" in relations with Cambodia after 45 years of bilateral diplomatic ties, the Vietnam News Agency reported Sunday.
"The fine neighborliness, traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia will continue (to) develop to a new plane," he reportedly said.
Minh said such development was based on "the fundamental advantages of the two peoples¿ close ties and various cooperation mechanisms as well as the senior leaders¿ resolve and efforts by ministries, agencies, localities and people."
The foreign minister was quoted as saying that this would benefit both peoples, "contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world."
Minh recalled that Vietnamese and Cambodians had "stood shoulder to shoulder to cooperate and assist each other in their respective causes of national liberation, freedom, independence and the pursuit of happiness and prosperity."
Referring to the victory over Pol Pot forces in 1979, he said it helped Cambodians "open an era of independence, peace, freedom and development for the country." It also helped to "facilitate the bilateral friendship and cooperation to develop into a new stage of closeness and mutual trust."
Since the Paris Peace Accords of 1991 and general elections in 1993, the two countries have maintained regular exchanges of high-level and local visits, Minh said. This showed their "resolve to work closely together to cement their bilateral relationship, which they have considered an important element behind the success of each country¿s national construction and defense."
Visits by King Norodom Sihamoni to Vietnam and President Nguyen Minh Triet and Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in recent years are "very significant," Minh said. The foreign minister added that such visits had brought relations to "a new level, tightening the fine neighborliness, solidarity, friendship and comprehensive cooperation."
The minister recalled King Father Norodom Sihanouk's remarks that "Cambodia and Vietnam are inseparable and this valuable relationship should be enhanced along with the national development and construction of both countries."
Minh also noted the recent rapid growth in economic, trade and investment cooperation. Two-way trade has risen from US$130-$150 million a year between 1997 and 1999 to $1.2 billion in 2007, $1.6 billion in 2008 and $2.8 billion in 2011. "Both countries are targeting to raise their trade value to $5 billion in the next five years," he said.
The report also noted that Vietnam had invested more than $2.2 billion in Cambodia, focusing on telecommunications, banking, energy, rubber and agricultural processing
"Bilateral ties will have more potential to develop in a strong and comprehensive manner on a new height," Minh said.