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Foreign ministers of Cambodia and Japan agree on ASEAN’s five-point consensus for Myanmar

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A telephone conversation between Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn and newly-appointed Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa on November 18. FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY

Foreign ministers of Cambodia and Japan agree on ASEAN’s five-point consensus for Myanmar

Japan has pledged further support to Cambodia in its international peacekeeping efforts while the two countries have urged Myanmar to fully implement the five-point consensus reached by ASEAN on the situation in Myanmar.

The pledge was made on November 18 during a telephone conversation between Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn and his newly-appointed Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi.

“In the area of political security, [Hayashi] commended Cambodia’s contribution to international peacekeeping and pledged to further support Cambodia in this endeavour,” said Cambodia’s foreign ministry in a press release.

“[Sokhonn] thanked Japan for providing capacity building support to Cambodian peacekeepers and agreed with [Hayashi] that the two countries should resume exchange of visits and further expand cooperation, particularly in peacekeeping,” the press release added.

The press release continued that the two ministers had expressed satisfaction with the ongoing level of active consultations between the two foreign ministers on bilateral cooperation, including the promotion of human rights in Cambodia.

Sokhonn recalled Japan’s important contributions to Cambodia’s reconstruction and expressed gratitude to Japan for continuing to assist Cambodia’s socio-economic development and providing support for Cambodia’s efforts to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, including through the provision of medical equipment and vaccines.

The press release said the two ministers had discussed at length the situation with Myanmar and they shared the view that ASEAN had an important role in assisting Myanmar in finding a peaceful approach to resolving the crisis.

“The five-point consensus agreed upon at the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting on April 24, 2021, should be fully implemented without further delay,” was the view of both Cambodia and Japan, the press release stated.

It said the two ministers noted with satisfaction the growing relations of friendship and cooperation between Japan and Cambodia and the year 2023 will be an important juncture for celebration as it marks the 70th anniversary of formal ties between the two nations.

They also expressed views on various fields of bilateral cooperation, including the development of Sihanoukville seaport, facilitation of trade and economic exchanges and reinvigoration of people-to-people connectivity following the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, told The Post on November 21 that ever since the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements, relations between Japan and Cambodia had improved in all areas including politics, economic ties and cultural exchanges.

He said Japan has been especially helpful with the restoration and rebuilding of Cambodia, making significant contributions to the establishment and maintenance of peace in the Kingdom because Japan has always wisely prioritised political stability.

“Diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Japan have always been very steady because Japan has always been cautious with its diplomatic reactions and its formal diplomatic positions with Cambodia and this gentle approach has ensured that relations between the two countries have never had to sail through any rough waters after the Paris Peace Accords up until now,” he said.

He added that today Japan is seen as a peaceful country and it actually has a pacifist constitution that was adopted following its defeat by the US in World War II. The US then went on to rebuild Japan and helped to turn it into the world’s third largest economy.

“Cambodia-Japan relations are important because Japan is like a scale weighing Cambodia-US relations and Cambodia-China relations because Japan is a very close ally of the US.

“The US-Cambodia relationship has its ups and downs. Sometimes the waves turn choppy. But in many areas Cambodia and Japan are able to work very closely and smoothly like with issues of peace and stability in the region and Japan can then be a good mediator during those rough stretches,” Phea said.

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