Former Prime Minister Hun Sen, president of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), has invited Pheu Thai Party leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra to visit Cambodia in March, as he paid a call on his former Thai counterpart Thaksin Shinawatra at his mansion in western Bangkok on February 21. 

Paetongtarn is the youngest daughter of Thaksin, who has recently been discharged from the hospital where he spent six months in detention after over 15 years of self-imposed exile. 

Hun Sen took to social media to explain that the meeting with Thaksin was purely personal, as the two former prime ministers regard each other as “God brothers”.

“I visited my God brother at his home in Bangkok. He is unwell, but welcomed me as a brother. Also present was Ung Ing [the other name of Paetongtarn], his youngest daughter, and president of the Pheu Thai Party,” he said.

“To strengthen our friendship, I invited Ung Ing to visit Cambodia on March 14 and 15. [Thaksin] and I did not discuss politics, we simply recalled memories from the 32 years since we became friends in 1992,” he added.

As former prime ministers of the two neighbouring Kingdoms, Hun Sen and Thaksin have met on many occasions, on both official and personal business.

Their most recent meeting took place in August last year, when Thaksin – as well as his sister Yingluck, also a former Thai prime minister – visited Hun Sen at his home in Kandal province’s Takhmao town, just outsides the capital, to celebrate his 72nd birthday.

CPP spokesperson Sok Eysan said he could not offer additional information about the meeting between the two former counterparts.

“As we all know, CPP president Samdech Hun Sen is not prime minister anymore and Thaksin no longer has any role within the Thai government. This means there were no discussions of bilateral relations or other political affairs. Their meeting was purely personal,” he stressed.

Thaksin was recently paroled from a one-year prison term and allowed to return to his home, after serving six months of his sentence, mostly in hospital, following his arrest on a corruption-related charge.

He was previously sentenced to eight years, but has received clemency from Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his sentence commuted to one year, in September last year.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, believes that although it was a personal visit, both former prime ministers remain influential politicians, as well as powerful figures in their respective parties, so they may have touched on bilateral relations or other political topics.

“The visit reflects the unwavering nature of their long-standing relationship, which has lasted for more than three decades,” he said.

He explained that despite being a personal trip, the relation between the two prominent leaders still plays a major role in state-to-state relations, as both of them lead their nation’s respective ruling parties.