Thailand and Cambodia attach high importance to border area development, with an aim to turn the areas into that of peace and prosperity.
Then issue was discussed at the 9th Meeting of the Thailand - Cambodia Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation, held in Siem Reap province, Cambodia, on 15-16 January 2015. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, General Tanasak Patimapragorn, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, Mr. Hor Namhong, co-chaired the meeting.
A report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that one of the strategic policies discussed was the development of special economic zones along the border areas in Banteay Meanchey-Sa Kaeo provinces and Koh Kong-Trat provinces. The two sides agreed to expedite their internal processes to upgrade four checkpoints to international border points of entry. They also agreed to utilize the Joint Committee on Border Area Development and Connectivity as much as possible to achieve these targets.
Both sides agreed to encourage the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) to resume talk on the Thai - Cambodian Overlapping Maritime Area in the Gulf of Thailand, in accordance with the MOU between the Royal Thai Government and Royal Government of Cambodia in 2001 and international law.
In the political and security aspect, they recognized that there is an urgent need to address the problem of illegal logging along the border areas. They agreed to utilize the national committee that has been set up as the mechanism to jointly discuss the guideline, modality and procedures of their coordination, including an action plan on the prevention, deterrence and legal procedures and punishment of offenders, as well as the coordinated patrol and enhanced coordination in the investigation by the authorities concerned of the country in which an incident has taken place involving injury and the loss of lives. Cambodia will host the first meeting of this national committee at the earliest opportunity.
In the economic aspect, the two countries will begin the negotiation on the Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation soon to further increase trade and investment. The Thai side has invited Cambodian businesses, both public and private, to consider utilizing Thai capital market as fund mobilizing source, in order to promote and support economic growth in Cambodia.
Thailand expressed readiness to continue social and cultural projects, in healthcare, education, and development of labor skills in Cambodia. These projects are aimed to strengthen local communities, enhance the living standards along the border areas in a sustainable manner, and reduce transnational crimes and strengthen bilateral relations in the long run.
At the regional level, both sides also placed great importance on the development of regional connectivity, especially the construction of different routes in the region and the construction of railway between Aranyaprathet and Poi Pet. They updated each other on the progress of the planned development of the new border checkpoint at Ban Nong Ian - Stung Bot and its infrastructure and agreed to expedite their realization.
They hoped that the increased connectivity and transport networks will subsequently help support mutual economic growth and people to people interaction in support of the launch of the ASEAN Community this year.
The Meeting agreed to organize a series of events to celebrate the 65th Anniversary of the Thai and Cambodian diplomatic relations in 2015 and tasked their authorities concerned to discuss a program of events.