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Cambodia, Japan set to bring ties to new heights

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Prime Minister Hun Sen (right) and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida at the ceremony. SPM

Cambodia, Japan set to bring ties to new heights

The leaders of Cambodia and Japan have agreed to upgrade their bilateral relationship to a “comprehensive strategic partnership”. The commitment was made during a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit on November 12.

“Earlier this year, when my Japanese counterpart visited Cambodia, I proposed to improve the relationship from a strategic partner to a “comprehensive strategic partnership”. Today, Kishida announced that Japan has agreed to enhance this relationship next year,” said Hun Sen.

“It is the honor and desire of the Cambodian people to have good friends in the region,” he added.

The Japanese embassy in Phnom Penh noted the remarkable progress of cooperation between the two nations over the years.

“Cambodia and Japan have maintained diplomatic relations since 1953. The 70th anniversary of these relations will be observed next year, marking the beginning of the ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ between the two countries,” it said.

International political observers said that enhancing the relationship to the comprehensive strategic partnership would be mutually beneficial.

A “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” is a detailed and thorough agreement in which each of the signatories agrees on their mutual obligations. In 2010, Cambodia and China entered into such a partnership and trade volume between the two countries has increased ever since, as did mutual support for international politics.

Policy analyst Ro Vannak opined that the partnership could lead to Cambodia gaining international diplomacy and trade benefits, while Japan’s main motivation is to compete with China in the region.

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