Cambodia and Thailand have pledged to deepen bilateral relation across all sectors with a special focus on reviving the two economies in the wake of pandemic-induced fiscal challenges.

The commitment followed a three-day visit by Thai foreign minister Don Pramudwinai, who was in Cambodia from December 16-18 for the 11th Meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation which he co-chaired with his counterpart Prak Sokhonn. This year’s theme was “Peace, Prosperity and Recovery Together”.

According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the meeting touched on all aspects of cooperation between the two countries including political security, economics, socio-cultural issues and regional cooperation in many other areas.

“Both sides agreed to further promote regular exchange of visits and meetings between leaders of the two countries and their ministries, institutions and provincial officials to strengthen their cooperation in all fields and enhance the traditional friendly relations between the two countries as well as deepen connectivity at the border.

“The two sides also stressed the need to promote training and information sharing on the issues of cross-border security, illegal logging, drug, arms and human trafficking,” said the statement.

The ministry said the two sides are pleased with the mutual support and assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic, including the provision of equal access to Covid-19 vaccines and assistance with medical care.

According to the ministry, Cambodia expressed its appreciation for the Thai government policy of granting permission to Cambodian workers whose work permits and travel documents were expired to stay and work in Thailand until February 13, 2023.

Cambodia also praised the joint efforts and close cooperation between the authorities for timely responses to facilitate repatriation, hospitalisations, and quarantines for Cambodian citizens during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Cambodia also thanked Thailand for providing opportunities for Cambodian students and government officials to pursue their studies in Thailand by offering scholarships, training courses and seminars.

“The two foreign ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment to continue working closely with each other to further promote close cooperation under regional and multilateral frameworks,” the ministry said.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said the pledge came out of recognition of the severe economic damage the pandemic caused to both economies.

“The commitment by the two neighbouring countries to solve these problems, including economic revival, is very important. We hope the pledge will produce good results because Thailand and Cambodia have generally supported each other in the modern era – aside from the now-resolved Preah Vihear issue – and have enjoyed a good level of cooperation,” he said.