King Norodom Sihamoni on August 8 conferred the highest honours of the Royal Academy of Cambodia on the newly appointed Prime Minister Hun Manet, bequesthing him with the title Kittitesaphibalbandit, which literally translates as “Honorary Governor Doctor”.

Meanwhile, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, together with the leaders of several other countries, congratulated Manet, the eldest son of outgoing Prime Minister Hun Sen, on his appointment as the new prime minister through an August 7 Royal Decree. The leaders stated their readiness to work with the seventh-mandate government that Manet will head.

An August 7 congratulatory letter from Lee reiterated the longstanding and friendly ties between Singapore and Cambodia, noting that their bilateral relationship has grown since the last meeting between Lee and Manet in 2018.

“We have stepped up cooperation in trade and investments, technical assistance, as well as military-to-military exchanges under your leadership as deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Army.

“We have also expanded collaboration in new and emerging areas, such as the export of renewable energy to Singapore and the trading of carbon credits. Our countries should continue to explore expanding collaboration in areas such as climate change and digitalisation,” it said.

Lee said he looks forward to working with Manet and his Cabinet to continue strengthening cooperation, both bilaterally and at multilateral forums, adding that he also looks forward to meeting Manet in-person at the upcoming 43rd ASEAN Summit in the Indonesian capital Jakarta this September.

Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith also expressed his congratulations on Manet’s appointment, noting that this is a historic event that has the full support of the Cambodian people.

Thongloun expressed his congratulations during a video conference with Hun Sen on August 8, according to a press release from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

The Lao leader expressed his strong hope for the success of the seventh-mandate government led by Manet, and his wishes that it will continue to develop Cambodia even more, while strengthening the excellent relations between the parties, government and people of Cambodia and Laos.

Recently appointed Prime Minister Hun Manet at a recent CPP meeting. HUN MANET VIA FACEBOOK

Manet, who will officially take office on August 22, thanked the dignitaries at all levels who sent congratulatory message to him.

“They are a great encouragement to me. I am committed to doing my best to fulfil my noble mission to serve the motherland and the people by maintaining absolute peace and stability, as well as pushing the inclusive development of the country,” he said in an August 8 social media post.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, noted that Manet had received support and congratulations from all circles, both domestic and foreign, adding that the congratulatory messages from the leaders of various countries to Manet were an expression of international support.

“I am very optimistic about Manet because he received a higher education from abroad, in high quality education systems. We all observed his abilities while he held his role at the Ministry of National Defence. He is very active, and also has good international relations skills. Manet often used to accompany [Hun Sen] on trips abroad, and gained a lot of experience,” he said.

Phea expressed his confidence in Manet’s ability to perform as head of the government, suggesting that Manet is likely to further strengthen and expand Cambodia’s foreign policy, especially through flexibility in the international geopolitical space.

According to a CPP press release, during a meeting, Hun Sen thanked Thongloun for his congratulations and for his support of the CPP and the new government.

On August 7, King Norodom Sihamoni issued a Royal Decree appointing Manet as the Prime Minister of Cambodia for the seventh-mandate, and tasked him with organising his Cabinet pending a vote of confidence at the National Assembly on August 22.