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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ...while contentious South Korea ties strengthened

...while contentious South Korea ties strengthened

CAMBODIA and South Korea signed investment and technical cooperation accords Feb

10 which are expected to strengthen business ties, officials said.

"The two agreements [we] have signed are marking another milestone in chapter

of Cambodian-Korean relations," said K.T. Park, head of South Korea's diplomatic

mission in Cambodia, at a signing ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Officials said an investment protection and promotion agreement would protect Korean

companies against any possible nationalization of industry and establish most-favored-nation

trade preferences between the two countries, while an economic, scientific and technical

agreement would promote the exchange of experts, information and equipment.

Park said the accords fostered closer relations between the two countries, but added

"there is still one important task to be realized" - a reference to the

fact that full diplomatic ties have yet to be established.

After years of diplomatic absence, Phnom Penh established mission-level ties with

South Korea last May - at the instigation of Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, who two

months later visited Seoul, the first senior Cambodian official to do so since 1975.

Funcinpec has also supported greater ties with Seoul, and Minister of Foreign Affairs

Ung Huot (Funcinpec) praised the signing of the latest accords as a necessary move.

But because of opposition by King Norodom Sihanouk, further diplomatic ties have

not been formalized between Phnom Penh and Seoul.

Sihanouk has a house in North Korea and was a close friend of the Stalinist state's

late leader, Kim Il-Sung. The King last year declared that he would not accept the

credentials of any South Korean Ambassador sent to Cambodia, and urged "pro-Seoul

forces" to wait until his death before establishing full diplomatic ties.

Seoul opened a trade office in Cambodia last October. South Korean firms invested

$12 million in Cambodia last year, mainly in garments, said Park.



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