Ha Noi (VNA) - Cambodian Ambassador to Viet Nam Long Kem has said the solidarity, friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between Viet Nam and Cambodia are a time-honoured tradition and the new King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihamoni, will try to continue developing this fine tradition.
The Cambodian diplomat told a Viet Nam News Agency correspondent in an interview on the occasion of Cambodia's 51st National Day (Independence Day) (Nov. 9) that in his first statement after his crowning ceremony, King Norodom Sihamoni affirmed that he will direct his policies along the path defined by his father, thereby, Cambodia will follow the policy of solidarity, friendship, and cooperation with all countries in the world and region, especially neighbouring countries, including Viet Nam.
Ambassador Long Kem expressed his belief that the new Cambodian King will implement the policy of friendship and fraternity with Viet Nam. He reiterated Viet Nam-Cambodia ties of friendship, comprehensive cooperation and mutual benefit on the basis of equality and respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. In this spirit, the two countries have supported each other in national defence and the fight against foreign invaders, as well as helped each other in times of difficulty.
The diplomat spoke about the great significance of Cambodia's Independence Day this year for the entire Cambodian people. Over the past 51 years since gaining national independence, Cambodia has experienced many difficult turning points and the country as it is today is a victory for the country as a whole and for former King Norodom Sihanouk, a King who did his best to contribute to the struggle for national independence.
Reviewing major events in the country in 2004, Long Kem noted that in July, a coalition government was established between the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and the FUNCINPEC party. This is the government of the 3rd National Assembly of Cambodia, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Thereafter, Cambodia joined the World Trade Organisation on September 13, 2004, ten years after its application for membership of the organisation. On October 8, Cambodia, together with two other Southeast Asian countries -Laos and Myanmar-, and 10 European countries, was admitted to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) at the fifth ASEM in Ha Noi. This was the second time Cambodia joined a major international organisation, after it became a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), also in Ha Noi.
This year also saw an event, considered a turning-point in Cambodia’s history: crowning the new King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihamoni, on Oct. 29 after King Norodom Sihanouk issued a statement of abdication. The Throne Council’s appointment of Norodom Sihamoni, son of King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Moneath, as sucessor to the throne, was an important event in the Cambodian Kingdom, as it was the first coronation of royalty for nearly half a century.
Mentioning the new King’s role to the Cambodian nation, the ambassador said that the King is the country’s monarch but does not hold power. The King is the symbol of national unity, concord and reconciliation, and a guarantor for Cambodia’s national independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty. He ensures the implementation of the rights to the democracy and freedom of all citizens as well as of international treaties to which Cambodia is a member. The King also acts as an arbitrator to resolve contradictions and conflicts in order to stabilise the country. In addition, the King holds a significant role in the royal armed forces. He is empowered to ratify international agreements, enact decrees, and sign decisions on ambassador appointments.
On the economic co-operation between Cambodia and Viet Nam, Ambassador Long Kem said that bilateral trade is expected to reach a record high this year. In the first nine months of 2004, Cambodia exported to Viet Nam 67 million USD worth of products, and imported from the country goods valued at 221 million USD.
The ambassador went on to say that at present, Cambodia, Viet Nam and their neighbouring country, Laos, are joining in implementing a “development triangle” roadmap, which is aimed at promoting their resources and strong points to aid the socio-economic development in their bordering provinces, particularly poor and remote areas.
The roadmap is expected to be submitted to the prime ministers of the three countries for approval on the sideline of the 10th ASEAN summit to be held in Laos later this month, he said, stressing that under this roadmap, the three countries will boost their co-operation in prioritised areas such as transport and communications, electrical generation, trade, tourism, human resources training and healthcare.
Ambassador Long Kem said apart from visits by high-ranking officials of the two sides, Ho Chi Minh City has recently invested 20 million USD in building a hospital in Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Penh, and Ha Noi in July provided 300,000 USD as aid for the construction of a road, which will be named after the city, also in Phnom Penh.