Cambodia and Japan reiterated joint commitment to enhancing their collaboration in the spheres of international peace and security. Japan also affirmed its readiness to work with Cambodia as host country of the UN Triangular Partnership Programme (UNTPP) next year.

The commitment was made during a March 7 courtesy call on Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn by Takehiro Kano, director-general of the International Peace Cooperation Headquarters, under Japan’s Cabinet Office.

Cambodia serves as a role model in the domains of international peace and security, and is recognised as a provider of peace, a foreign ministry press release cited Kano as saying.

The two sides “expressed satisfaction [over their] robust bilateral relationship, which was upgraded to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ this year”, it added.

The two sides discussed cooperation in peacekeeping, as well as mine action partnership, within bilateral, trilateral and UN frameworks.

Sokhonn recalled the significant contribution of Japan Self-Defence Force (JSDF) to the peacekeeping process – as well as Japan’s ongoing support for the Kingdom’s reconstruction and development – with appreciation.

“[Kano] affirmed Japan’s readiness to work with Cambodia as host country of the [UNTPP] in 2024, to strengthen regional engineering capabilities [on] peacekeeping missions,” said the release.

“The two sides reiterated their shared commitment to further enhancing collaboration in the spheres of international peace and security through training and equipment provision,” it added.

According to the ministry, Kano applauded the success of Cambodia’s chairmanship of ASEAN and the “challenging” role of the ASEAN chair’s special envoy on Myanmar, Sokhonn, last year.

“He emphasised that Japan and the international community recognised Cambodia’s hard work,” it said.

In 2021, during a video conference with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister Hun Sen requested that Japan continue to enhance cooperation between the two nations’ peacekeepers, especially in terms of training.

Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute’s Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, told The Post on March 8 that Cambodia and Japan shared a heartfelt relationship at all levels, whether leader to leader or people to people.

“Their ongoing mutual support in the fields of social development, military infrastructure and the economy is thanks to this close relationship,” he said.

“Through its training, technical and financial assistance, Japan is a leading partner in developing the capacity of the Cambodian armed forces. They are one of the reasons the Kingdom can make such an outsized contribution to peacekeeping operations under the UN umbrella,” he added.