This weekend, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia will meet for the first time about exchanging a new trilateral border in Vietnam. This event’s significance, nevertheless, plays a crucial role in the background of not only sector development but also Vietnam’ priorities in this respect despite the fact that it was just small part between many developments in the border relations management of these countries.
The countries which one among the largest and longest rivers in the world – Mekong River have been taking full advantage of the opportunities and challenges coming from their shared borders. Vietnam has been the core country in leading some of these effort concernings the border defense force, not only as a core player in mainland Southeast Asia but also as an important part in preserving a sovereign nation and thriving amid periods of clashing abroad as well institutional contention at home.
This year, 2018, has been witnessed a concentration on a figure of these border exchanges, in the situation of the third iteration of the Partnership Border Exchange Program held in August with the border guard forces of six countries including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, China, and Thailand. The main reason for this concentration is for sector developments in general and for Vietnamese domestic in particular: they are associated with ceremonial occasion for the Vietnam Border Defense Force coming up in 2019, including the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Border Defense Force on March 3, 1959, at the same time is iteration of All People’s Border Guard Day since March 3, 1989.
On October 25, the Vietnam Ministry of Defense officially reported that the first border partnership exchange among Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia will be held in early November. According to the agreement between Indochina Ministry of Defense as well as the provinces within these countries Kon Tum in Vietnam, Ratanakiri in Cambodia and Attapeu and Sekong in Laos. This exchange is planned to take place on November 2 and 3.
The Ministry of Defense claimed that the activities intended including a joint patrol, a partnership seminar, planting trees in the border landmark among these countries, a free health checking-up and a medical drive. It considered this exchange as a “significant cross-border activity” which could have a part in reinforce cooperation and development among Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia and four provinces mentioned above.
Despite this exchange will happen or not, it still is seen. But when the change is getting carry out this weekend and we receive details about how three sides plan to follow up on such activities, we should have clearer regarding the meaning of this relationship in this aspect.