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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hun Sen, Tan Dung Sign 9 Agreements During Vietnam State Visit

By Zsombor Peter, Cambodia Daily
The December 28, 2013

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday signed off on nine wide-ranging deals with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung during a state visit that ends Saturday, including arrangements to tighten media, public security and trade cooperation, according to Cambodian and Vietnamese state media.

Cambodian state news service Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP) also reported that Mr. Tan Dung asked Mr. Hun Sen to “protect” Vietnamese investors in Cambodia and expressed hope that bilateral trade would hit $5 billion by 2015, nearly double the $2.7 billion achieved in 2013.

According to AKP, Mr. Hun Sen in turn asked Vietnam to sell electricity to Cambodia at the price both sides had agreed to, to share water along their common border and to finish a road Vietnam is building in neighboring Ratanakkiri province.

Mr. Hun Sen’s state visit to Vietnam comes amid opposition-led protests in Cambodia calling for the prime minister’s resignation, and the airing of long-running resentments here against Vietnamese illegal immigration and investments accused of encroaching on Cambodian land. The protests themselves were triggered by national elections in July that the opposition accuses the CPP of stealing through fraud.

Among the deals the two leaders signed, AKP said, was a credit agreement of an undisclosed amount of money for construction of the Chrey Thom-Long bridge in Kandal province, an extradition treaty, and unspecified cooperation plans between the ministries of information and education, and state security agencies. Other deals covered bilateral trade enhancement, the shipment of goods and a fertilizer purchase agreement.

AKP reported that Mr. Hun Sen and Mr. Tan Dung also discussed their plans to celebrate the 35th anniversary of January 7, the date in 1979 on which Vietnamese forces and Khmer Rouge defectors toppled the Pol Pot regime. Though habitually marked by the CPP, the opposition considers that date the start of a decade of Vietnamese occupation during which Hanoi installed Mr. Hun Sen in power.

Mr. Hun Sen, speaking in fluent Vietnamese, also gave a public address to hundreds of Vietnamese veterans of the war in Cambodia and met with Vietnam’s former President Le Duc Anh, who planned the invasion that toppled Pol Pot. Mr. Hun Sen also laid a wreath at Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, according to a report on the VTV 1 channel.

Mr. Tan Dung is scheduled to pay a state visit of his own to Cambodia on January 13 and 14 for the groundbreaking of the Chrey Thom-Long bridge and the inauguration of a Vietnamese-built hospital in Phnom Penh.

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