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New Japan envoy vows SEA Games lift, deeper relations

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen (right) meets with new Japanese ambassador to Cambodian Atsushi Ueno at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on February 8. SPM

New Japan envoy vows SEA Games lift, deeper relations

Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Japan support the hosting of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games by Cambodia this year by encouraging visitors and arranging direct or charter flights to Cambodia for the biennial multi-sports event.

He made the remarks during a meeting with newly appointed Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Atsushi Ueno at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on February 8, one day before his departure for a three-day visit to China.

Ueno recalled that he came to Cambodia in 1992 and is pleased to see that Cambodia today is “highly developed, stable and peaceful”, according to the premier’s social media post after the meeting.

“[Ueno] also congratulated [Hun Sen] for leading the ASEAN Summit and related meetings during its successful ASEAN chairmanship. He said the relationship between the two countries is the best it has ever been at the moment. He is very honoured to serve as the Japanese envoy to Cambodia,” said the post.

Ueno is committed to doing his best to further strengthen the Cambodia-Japan bilateral relationship by encouraging investors and tourists to come and support the Kingdom in organising the SEA Games, its upcoming national election in July, demining missions, cooperation on the economy and other areas, it added.

“[Hun Sen] thanked and agreed with [Ueno] on the relationship between the two countries. With [Ueno’s] commitment to help Cambodia, the prime minister said that Japan can support the SEA Games by encouraging visitors and arranging direct or charter flights to Cambodia,” it said.

On economy and investment, Hun Sen asked Ueno to help increase the trade volume between the two nations and bring more investors to Cambodia.

At a graduation ceremony for Western University (WU) seniors in January, Hun Sen asked people to participate in the hosting of the SEA Games, which Cambodia has been waiting on for 64 years.

“Our people, please use the opportunity of the SEA Games in Cambodia to start a national movement, not just a separate matter of sports in Phnom Penh. We need to make our country clean, because tens of thousands of foreigners will come to Phnom Penh,” he said.

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the two nations’ diplomatic relations have matured and, in the modern era, Japan has always been supportive of Cambodia in regional and global affairs and never expressed diplomatic opposition in any forum or on any issue to Cambodia.

“Japan’s commitment to support the SEA Games is a good thing, because Cambodia hasn’t organised the SEA Games for a long time, since the war era. We did them once in the Sangkum Reastr Niyum era,” he said.

He added that if other countries like China, South Korea and others continue their support and encourage their people to attend the SEA Games as well as visit Cambodia, then it will have a real impact on boosting the Kingdom’s economy post-pandemic and allow it to recover faster.


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