Laos, Cambodia open new international border checkpoint
Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen will attend the official opening ceremony of the new Nong Nokkhiane-Trapeang Kriel international border checkpoint on January 10, according to Laos' Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday.
Vehicles from Laos pass Nong Nokkhiane-Trapeang Kriel international border checkpoint heading to Cambodia. -- Photo Champamai
The new international border checkpoint will link the Nong Nokkhiane area in Khong district of Champassak province in Laos and the Trapeang Kriel area in Cambodia's Stung Treng province.
The opening of this border makes it the first proper international border checkpoint between Laos and Cambodia, despite foreign nationals being permitted to cross there for some time already.
The opening of the international checkpoint follows the agreement between the two governments in April 9, 2009 to upgrade the local border with the aim of providing convenience to people crossing in the area.
The inauguration of the international border checkpoint also became an important occasion to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries and sought to deepen the longstanding traditional friendship and solidarity between the Lao and Cambodian peoples.
Both parties believed that the new international border checkpoint will boost tourism and economic development as well as make people-to-people exchanges more convenient, especially among those living in nearby areas.
Laos and Cambodia also agreed to promote investment and trade cooperation between their neighbouring provinces after the value of bilateral trade reached US$24.5 million in 2015.
In the field of education, it was agreed to increase the number of government-to-government bachelor degree exchange scholarships to 15 annually.
In addition, the two countries will continue to cooperate in border security and prevent the illegal trade in timber and drugs in border areas.
According to a Cambodian media report, the amount of trade between the two countries was not made public at the meeting but total investment in Laos by Cambodia was valued at about US$84 million.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia also reported that after the inauguration ceremony of the new international border checkpoint, Prime Minister Hun Sen will visit Don Sahong Hydropower Dam located in Champasak province.
Laos and Cambodia also plan to build a 145-metre bridge across the Xe Lam Phao River in Mounlapamok district, Champassak province of Laos to connect to northern Cambodia.
A 78-kilometre road linking Mounlapamok district to the Xe Lam Phao bridge is also planned, according to the agreement between the two countries' prime ministers in June last year.
To strengthen friendship and cooperation, the two countries also opened consulates in their respective countries, with the Lao consulate located in Stung Treng province of Cambodia while the Cambodian consulate opened in Champassak province of Laos last year.
By Sisay Vilaysack
(Latest Update January 06, 2017)