Cambodia and Japan have made plans to increase their bilateral engagement in order strengthen ties and reach the level of “comprehensive strategic partnership” (CSP) in 2023, a goal reaffirmed by outgoing Japanese ambassador Masahiro Mikami and foreign minister Prak Sokhonn in their meeting on December 6.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mikami praised the bilateral relations and noted with satisfaction the planned upgrade to CSP in 2023, the commemorative year of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Mikami also praised Cambodia for endeavouring to help Myanmar return to normalcy, quoting him as saying that “without those efforts, the situation in Myanmar would have been much worse”.

The envoy lauded Cambodia’s successful ASEAN chairmanship, which brought remarkable outcomes from the ASEAN Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related summits hosted by Cambodia at a time of many serious regional and international crises.

Sokhonn sincerely thanked Japan for its official development assistance, which has contributed to Cambodia’s socio-economic development and supported the Kingdom’s fight against the pandemic and in the post-Covid-19 recovery.

“[Sokhonn] and [Mikami] shared the view that it would be good to organize some activities to further strengthen bilateral cooperation to commemorate the 70th anniversary … Sokhonn also confirmed his readiness to visit Japan by the end of January next year in response to his Japanese counterpart’s invitation,” the ministry said.

Sokhonn said he appreciated the ambassador’s active contributions to promoting ties and fruitful cooperation, especially the exchange of high-level visits, including the state visit to Cambodia by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in March of this year.

Kin Phea, director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the relationship between the Kingdom and Japan has improved day by day without any problems with the government or the people.

“This relationship is deepening in all aspects, in all fields, at all levels. It also shows the balance of Cambodia’s foreign relations with countries in the region and the world,” he said.