Welcoming the delegation at the Phnom Penh International Airport were representatives from the Cambodian Ministry of Cults and Religion and the Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia.
As schedule, on November 11, 2013, in the capital of Phnom Penh, the Vietnamese guests held talks with a Cambodian Ministry of Cults and Religion delegation led by its Minister Min Khin. During the talks, the two sides agreed to further strengthen cooperation in the field of religion, evaluate religious cooperation programmes between the two countries in recent years, and discuss ways to deepen cooperation between the two State management agencies on religion. According to the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the two sides will continue to maintain cooperation on State management on religion; provide each other with physical and technical support and assistance, contributing to improving the performance of the two agencies; and increase the exchange of delegations. However, the bilateral cooperation results in recent years are yet to match the two nations’ time-honoured relationship, so the two sides agreed to upgrade the 2007 MoU to a cooperation agreement to be submitted to the two Governments for approval.
The Vietnamese delegation paid courtesy visits to Great Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong of the Mohanikaya sect and Supreme Patriarch Bour Kry of the Thomayut Tekanikaya sect. They are the heads of the two Buddhist sects which have great influence and prestige for Cambodia and its people. The delegation informed the hosts about the activities of Vietnam Buddhism, the religious freedom policy of the Vietnamese Party and State as well as the outcomes of its talks with the Cambodia Ministry of Cults and Religion. The two patriarchs said Cambodia has 4,000 pagodas with more than 50,000 monks and three Buddhist universities. With 95 percent of Cambodians being followers, Buddhism is a bridge for political solidarity and solidarity among people in Cambodia. In the spirit of "Six harmonies", Cambodia Buddhism and Vietnam Buddhist Sangha have been promoting Buddhist activities to exchange Buddhist disciplines and guide Buddhist monks, nuns and followers to practice their beliefs following the dharma and the law, carry out the Buddha's teachings of "Buddhish dharma is not separate from the secular realm", and uphold the spirit of integration into secular life of the Tathagata’s disciples, practically contributing to socio-economic development. The two countries’ Buddhist monks, nuns and followers serve as a bridge that nurtures and foster the traditional friendship and neighbourliness between the two countries and the two peoples.
Mr. Pham Dzung, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs cum Chairman of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs and Great Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong of the Mohanikaya sect
The delegation also met with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sor Kheng. The Vietnamese guests informed their host of the cooperation programme and the results of their talks with the Cambodian Ministry of Cults and Religion. They suggested the Deputy PM pay attention to instructing the implementation of the cooperation programme in religious affairs so that it can yield good results in the coming year. Mr. Sor Kheng thanked the delegation for its working visit and asked the Vietnamese Government Committee for Religious Affairs to boost cooperation and share State management experience on religion with the Cambodian Ministry of Cults and Religion so that the two agencies can well perform their functions and tasks, contributing to social stabilization and economic development as well as strengthening people-to-people exchange, thus continuously consolidating and developing the fine neighbourliness, traditional friendship, comprehensive cooperation and long-term sustainability between Vietnam and Cambodia, for the common benefits of the two peoples as well as for peace, stability and development in the region and the world at large.
During the trip, the delegation worked with the leaders of Siem Riep province, who affirmed that on the basis of the MoU on cooperation in the field of religion between the two countries, Siem Reap province will continue directing its relevant agencies to implement cooperation activities effectively, helping boost the traditional and close relationship between Vietnam and Cambodia. Siem Reap, located in northwest Cambodia, attracts a large number of visitors to Cambodia as it is home to world renowned Angkor Wat Temple. It boasts an international airport connecting Cambodia with Asian cities and Vietnam’s Noi Bai, Da Nang and Tan Son Nhat airports. This is an important bridge for promoting economic development cooperation and cultural exchange between Vietnam and Cambodia, thus fostering their friendship and comprehensive cooperation./.