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Vietnam president visits Cambodia ahead of hosting Trump, Kim

Feb 25. 2019
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Nguyen Phu Trong
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Nguyen Phu Trong
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By The Nation

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Vietnam President Nguyen Phu Trong arrived in Cambodia on Monday for a two-day visit to cement long-term relations.

Trong, who is also head of Vietnam’s Communist Party, flew to Cambodia from Laos, where he spent the weekend for the same purpose.

Hanoi regards its relations with Laos and Cambodia as special, given that they together formed French Indochina and had to fight for their independence from France.

At the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Trong was expected to be granted an audience with King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath.

He will also meet Cambodian Senate President Say Chhum, National Assembly President Heng Samrin and Prime Minister Hun Sen and witness the signing of several documents aimed at fostering cooperation between the neighbouring countries.

While Cambodia has pursued closer ties with China in recent years, Vietnam has become one of Cambodia’s leading economic partners, with the value of bilateral trade reaching nearly US$3.8 billion in 2017, up more than 25 per cent year-on-year.

The two countries want to raise the figure to $5 billion in coming years, according to a Vietnamese official.

Trong’s visits to Laos and Cambodia come only days before Hanoi hosts another much-anticipated summit between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday and Thursday.

That meeting in Hanoi is being regarded by diplomats as a new highlight in Vietnam’s international profile.

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