Prime Minister Hun Sen met with the new ambassadors of the US, Germany and Japan individually at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. He said the meetings touched on a broad range of issues, from trade to politics.
In the afternoon, Hun Sen had a meeting with US Ambassador Patrick Murphy, in which he said relations and cooperation between the two countries should be strengthened.
The prime minister said on Facebook that the US and Cambodia had many things in common and should work together in the frameworks of the UN and US-Asean relations.
He said Cambodia will be the chair of Asean in 2022 and he wanted to see the regional bloc and the US enjoy good cooperation.
Hun Sen said that as next year will be the 70th anniversary of Cambodia-US relations, he wanted to see the countries work together on certain issues.
Murphy said that he also wanted to see ties strengthened.
“Today I had my initial meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen and discussed long-standing US support for the Cambodian people and a prosperous, democratic and sovereign Cambodia.
“I hope steps can be taken to strengthen this important relationship between our two countries and peoples,” he said on Twitter after the meeting.
Murphy also said he had thanked Hun Sen for his courtesy calls.
In the meeting with German Ambassador Christian Berger, Hun Sen said he hoped that the diplomat’s mission would boost relations and cooperation between the two countries.
Berger responded that he would do his utmost to strengthen ties with Cambodia.
The recent visit of Minister of Interior Sar Kheng and three other ministers to Germany was testament to improved relations, he said.
“[Berger] said both countries still had lots of areas of potential, and what interested him the most, he said, was that the German Chamber of Commerce wanted to open its first office in Cambodia.
Responding on his Facebook page, Hun Sen said: “This is because there are German companies interested in Cambodia’s economic growth and want to invest here”.
The prime minister also said that economic ties and trade between Germany and Cambodia had increased, with the Kingdom importing cars from Germany, while Cambodia exported footwear and garment products to that country.
He said Cambodia had recently purchased an electric generator from Germany, while the Kingdom was also importing German beer.
In a separate meeting, Japanese Ambassador Masahiro Mikami thanked Hun Sen for offering his condolences to the people of Japan after Typhoon Hagibis brought death and destruction to the country on Saturday.
He said the presence of King Norodom Sihamoni at the Enthronement Ceremony of the Emperor of Japan on Tuesday was also appreciated.
“Japan continues to support Cambodia, particularly by boosting cooperation politically, economically and culturally, as well as in many other sectors,” Hun Sen said on Facebook.
He said Japan’s role in ending the conflicts in Cambodia in the 1980s was appreciated, and he hailed the country’s development assistance, particularly in infrastructure. He said the two nations had “strategic” bilateral relations, with increasing trade and direct flights.
“Cambodia will continue to practise the rule of law and strengthen democracy. [Hun Sen’s] priority is to maintain peace and continue with the democratic process,” the prime minister said.
Mikami said Japan continued to work with the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC), assist in the supply of power and with the development of the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port – the Kingdom’s only deep-water port.
The spokespersons for the German and Japanese embassies could not be reached by The Post for comment on Wednesday.
However, the German embassy’s Twitter post quoting Ambassador Berger said: “Let us strengthen the friendship between the Cambodian and German governments and peoples.
“Let us work hard to boost our economic ties, including building trust and finding a solution to [the EU’s ‘Everything But Arms’ agreement] in all its facets.”
Arend Zwartjes, the spokesperson for the US embassy in Phnom Penh, confirmed the meeting between Ambassador Murphy and Hun Sen but declined to comment further, saying the embassy’s Twitter account should be followed.
But nothing had been posted on the social networking service as of press time.
Sok Touch, the president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said it was hard to speculate on what else had been discussed at the meetings other than what was revealed. “All three countries are powers from different regions,” Touch said.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said the three ambassadors may have tried to ascertain how Hun Sen intended to address the current political situation in Cambodia while letting him know of their respective government’s concerns.
“If the prime minister’s position and that of the ambassadors’ respective governments are not too far apart then it can be expected that together they will work out a solution to the present crisis,” Mong Hay said.