A total of 17 Cambodia-Vietnam friendship monuments across Cambodia will be renovated by March next year with nearly $8 million provided by Vietnam’s Defence Ministry.
The concrete monuments were built to memorialise the sacrifice of Cambodian and Vietnamese volunteer soldiers who died between 1979 and 1989.
Nhem Valy, secretary of state at the Ministry of Cults and Religion, said yesterday a joint Cambodian and Vietnamese team is collaborating to upgrade the monuments at a cost of $7.8 million.
He said the project, which has already been underway for one year, should be finished by March.
“The renovation of the monuments is scheduled to be completed in the near future,” he said.
Vietnam’s deputy defence minister Lieutenant General Le Chiem told local media that the Cambodia-Vietnam friendship monuments, which were designed in 1979, have significant historical and cultural value.
“They are a symbol of the warm sentiments, solidarity, bravery and sacrifices of the people and armies of Vietnam and Cambodia,” he said.
The monument in Kampong Thom province was one of those renovated and embellished.
Provincial deputy governor Kong Vimean said the memorial has been restored and upgraded in the Khmer style.
“We have restored it and made it bigger and taller than before,” he said.
He said the monument is located in the main provincial garden, near a statue of an elephant fighting tigers.
“The monument is to remember the long-lasting friendship between Cambodia and Vietnam and also dedicated to Cambodian and Vietnamese soldiers who died in battlefields to help Cambodian people suffering during Pol Pot’s genocidal regime from 1975 to 1979,” Mr Vimean said.
In Kampong Thom province alone, the remains of more than 1,000 Vietnamese volunteer soldiers who died in Cambodia have been found and repatriated home since 2003.
“All the remains were sent to Vietnam’s Binh Phuoc province,” he said, adding that they were found with information provided by local people and veteran Vietnamese soldiers.
Cambodia and Vietnam worked together to repatriate the remains, he said.