The bilateral relationship between Cambodia and Vietnam can be described as a love-hate relationship. The two nations have a long history of interaction, cooperation, and hostility as close neighbors and have had both friends and adversaries.
After the Khmer Empire was overthrown in the 15th century, relations between Cambodia and Vietnam have gone through many different aspects.
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Kingdom of Cambodia established formal diplomatic relations on June 24, 1967. However, the alliance has faced many difficulties, both domestically and globally.
Despite ups and downs in their relations, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, Cambodia and Vietnam have been able to maintain friendly relations over the past 40 years.
In describing their current relationship, both nations often use phrases such as "excellent neighborliness, traditional friendliness, comprehensive cooperation, and long-lasting stability.”
In 1999, when Vietnam held the ASEAN Chair, Cambodia was welcomed as the last member of the organization.
Vietnam is credited with saving Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge regime, which had killed nearly two million Cambodian residents.
Since joining ASEAN, Cambodia has cooperated with Vietnam and the other ASEAN countries to promote peace and stability in the region.
Although Vietnam helped liberate Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge dictatorship, many Western academics refer to this involvement as an "invasion."
This historical fact should not be discounted, misrepresented, or politicized, and should not be allowed to foster a climate of hostility and prejudice between Vietnamese and Cambodians.
Since Cambodia and Vietnam are neighbors who must always be close to each other, their cooperation offers many advantages for promoting prosperity and peace in both countries.
In contrast, there will always be quarrels among neighbors who live close to each other, because that is the way people are. Even married couples who are supposed to be together forever occasionally quarrel for some reason.
The constant border conflict between the two nations stems from the incomplete demarcation of their land border, which is one of the main points of contention. The undefined border regions are still a cause for concern.
|Dr. Sam Seun, Policy Analyst at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia in a supplied photo|
Despite the aforementioned relationship difficulties, Vietnam has openly stated that it will support Cambodia during its ASEAN chairmanship.
Vietnamese officials have traveled to the Kingdom of Cambodia to show their support for Cambodia when it holds the ASEAN Chair.
The governments of the two nations continue to maintain excellent relations. Numerous Cambodian students have received scholarships to study in Vietnam in a variety of professions, and many Vietnamese citizens work in Cambodia.
Even if we have occasional problems, they can be solved because we cannot lift the border and live separately, just like tongue and teeth, which must coexist for each other's prosperity and development.
It is crucial for Cambodia and Vietnam to find a way for our people to live peacefully together at all levels because nature has made them neighbors who must live close to each other.
All in all, Cambodia and Vietnam should take measures to speed up the border demarcation procedure to eliminate the aforementioned difficulties.
At the same time, the Cambodian government should find measures to solve the problem of Vietnamese immigrants and appease the dissenting opinions among the Cambodian people on historical matters concerning Vietnam.
The two governments should also create more mechanisms to allow Cambodian and Vietnamese citizens to better understand each other, as this is very important for peaceful coexistence and maintaining peace and stability between the two countries.
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