South Korea has agreed to provide Cambodia with over $1.8 billion in economic development loans to further strengthen the existing good relations between the two nations.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Prime Minister Hun Sen will preside over the signing ceremony at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on December 9.

Foreign minister Prak Sokhonn and Korean ambassador to Cambodia Park Heung-kyeong will sign a framework arrangement between the two governments concerning loans from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) of up to $1.5 billion.

In addition, Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth and EDCF country director Minnie Chey will sign loan agreements for two projects: A grid reinforcement project in Preah Sihanouk province, estimated at $70 million, and the Cambodia-Korea Friendship Bridge Project (Phsar Chas-Chroy Changvar; Chroy Changvar-Arey Ksat), which will cost $245 million.

“The loans extended by the South Korean government will make a crucial contribution to the Cambodian government’s endeavours to stimulate economic development, and further strengthen the existing good relations between our two nations,” said the release.

Royal Academy of Cambodia secretary-general Yang Peou said the provision of loans was a sign of close cooperation, not just for investment and economic development, but also for strengthening partnerships in bilateral and multilateral frameworks. The loans also signified South Korea’s confidence in the Kingdom.

“The provision of such large loans clearly illustrates that South Korea – and others alike – have confidence in the Cambodian government, its political stability, and the strength of its economic infrastructure. It is these factors which make it possible for South Korea, foreign investors and other partner nations – including Japan – to work with the government,” he added.

The Cambodia-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) became effective on December 1, and is expected to further strengthen bilateral economic cooperation and relations between the two countries.