Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Five deals inked with Thailand



Five deals inked with Thailand

Prime Minister Hun Sen (centre-left) shakes hands with Thai Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha before a cabinet meeting at Government House in Bangkok on the weekend.
Prime Minister Hun Sen (centre-left) shakes hands with Thai Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha before a cabinet meeting at Government House in Bangkok on the weekend. AFP

Five deals inked with Thailand

Prime Minister Hun Sen signed five deals with his Thai counterpart Prayuth Chan-ocha during a state visit on Friday and Saturday, aiming to strengthen bilateral ties, ramp up trade and improve the conditions of migrant workers.

The prime ministers agreed to step up border patrols to combat logging, drug and human trafficking and “transnational crimes”.

The two countries will seek to improve trade and transport by opening two checkpoints in Banteay Meanchey province and Sa Kaeo province and promote more border special economic zones. The neighbours also hope to triple bilateral trade by 2020.

A labour cooperation agreement is supposed to protect workers travelling across the border. The Thai side pledged to continue to support labour skills training, while both sides said they want to crack down on trafficking and illegal migration.

“In every conversation [with my Thai counterpart], I have never forgotten to raise issues of Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand . . . I had requested of them to take care of our workers and join hands to eliminate human trafficking and labour exploitation,” Hun Sen wrote on his Facebook page.

The state news agency AKP said that Thailand has accepted over 500,000 Cambodian workers in 2015. Chum Sounry, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the number of Cambodians who want to work in Thailand is continuing to grow and that workers require protection.

The Labour Ministry was not available for comment on the agreement yesterday.

Yim Sovann, an opposition lawmaker from the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), said that an agreement is good but the true test will be in implementation. He called on the Cambodian government to hold Thailand strictly accountable on worker treatment.

“The violence against Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand – such as shooting and torture – remains a concern,” said Sovann. “The most important thing is to encourage the Thai government to respect the agreement and implement it properly.”

Thai media have quoted Prayuth as saying that Cambodian-Thai relations have “never been closer”.

Carlyle Thayer, an expert on Southeast Asian relations, said that it is in both economies’ interest to prevent problems on the border. With tensions, fewer remittances and Thai goods flow into Cambodia.

“Hun Sen is trying to secure a benefit for the economy and for himself,” said Thayer. “He’s gaining a friend in ASEAN through Thailand.”

He added that it was advantageous for both prime ministers to forge a personal alliance, as neither leader is a fan of the opposition in their home turf. If relations continue to improve, that will make it “much more difficult for Cambodian opposition to seek refuge in Thailand. Thailand doesn’t want its opposition to find refuge in Cambodia” either.

Sovann did not comment on the CNRP’s stance on Thailand, and other CNRP spokespeople were not available for comment yesterday.

Additional reporting by Mech Dara

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,