Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, will begin an official visit to Cambodia on April 30 after attending the One Belt One Road Forum in Beijing, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on Tuesday.
Speaking during a graduation ceremony of more than two thousand students on Koh Pich in the capital, Hun Sen said: “Her Excellency Aung San Suu Kyi is scheduled to leave Beijing for Phnom Penh on April 29 and begin her official visit on April 30.”
This will be Suu Kyi’s first visit to Cambodia since she assumed office as Myanmar’s de-facto leader in 2016, although “she and Hun Sen regularly meet at regional and international meetings”, according to government spokesperson Phay Siphan.
He stressed the importance of Suu Kyi’s visit for “the continued cooperation between both countries” and highlighted the areas in which they have cooperated in the past.
Specifically, he said Hun Sen had protected and promoted the candidacy of Myanmar in Asean. He added that Cambodia has always protected the principle of non-interference in Myanmar’s internal affairs with regards to the country’s issues surrounding the Rohingya. While finally, he said Cambodia and Myanmar face the same prospect of the EU withdrawing their access to the Everything But Arms preferential trade agreement.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ket Sophann said that during the two-day visit, Suu Kyi will meet King Nordom Sihamoni and the queen mother, National Assembly President Heng Samrin and Senate President Say Chhum.
In addition, she will visit Siem Reap and have a bilateral meeting with Hun Sen.
Kin Phea, the International Relations Institute of the Royal Academy of Cambodia director, told The Post Suu Kyi’s visit will strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries, both members of Asean.
He said Myanmar and Cambodia are similar both in the framework of internal affairs and framework of foreign policy. He said the international community criticises Cambodia for what is alleged to be a backsliding in democracy, while Suu Kyi’s supposed failure to act in defence of the Rohingya ethnic minority group in Myanmar has led to her widespread condemnation.
“The relations of the two countries with the EU are similar, including regarding rice tariffs. The EU is considering withdrawing Cambodia’s EBA agreement and has also hinted at similar measures for Myanmar,” he said.