Authorities in Laos’ Attapeu Province and their counterparts in Cambodia’s Ratanakiri Province have conducted a survey on the feasibility of opening a new bilateral border gate.
According to the Khmer Times, the possibility of the new border checkpoint was raised at a press conference held yesterday at the Council of Ministers on the results and achievements of the Ratanakiri Provincial Administration.
Provincial governor Thang Savon stated the province currently has no road connecting it with Laos, and an interconnecting route could help meet the needs of the two nations’ populations.
Provincial offices on both sides are planning to request their respective government’s approval for the opening of a bilateral border checkpoint.
If the border project were to happen, it would strengthen trade and attract tourism for both sides.
The Cambodians hope to export agricultural produce to Laos from Ratanakiri Province, which currently exports 87,000 tonnes of agricultural produce to China via its border with Vietnam. With a new border, Laos could serve as another avenue for the facilitation of Cambodian exports.
Tensions rose at the border between Laos and Cambodia last year over an area where border demarcation had not yet been implemented. The tension between the two countries began to simmer on 11 August when Lao and Cambodian troops confronted each other in an area along the border.
However, the situation was quickly stabilized after leaders from the two nations spoke to each other on 24 August, and Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith flew to Cambodia to resolve the issue.
Since then, Laos has stepped up trade and cooperation with Cambodia, inking a deal on the transmission of electricity to Cambodia earlier this year.
The Nongnokheane-Trapaing Kriel International Border Checkpoint linking Laos and Cambodia officially opened in 2017.