Sixteen senior officials from the Cambodian and Singaporean foreign affairs ministries met on Wednesday in Phnom Penh for the first Cambodia-Singapore Political Consultations following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2017.
The meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the capital lasted around 90 minutes.
The closed-door consultation was led by Tuot Panha, under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Peter Tan Hai Chuan, deputy secretary for Asian and Asean Affairs at Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to remarks from both sides, the consultation was made in accordance with the MoU on Cambodia-Singapore Political Consultations, which was signed during an official visit to Cambodia in 2017 of Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The MoU aims to monitor and strengthen bilateral cooperation in all sectors and continue regional cooperation with the exchange of visits on both local and international matters for the benefit of both countries.
“The first Cambodia-Singapore Political Consultations will promote good relations, friendship and close cooperation between the two countries, both in bilateral and multilateral parties,” Panha said.
Panha said both parties had discussed and jointly evaluated bilateral cooperation in such areas as politics, security, national defence, trade and investment, education and the development of human resources.
Tourism, culture, labour, and the connection between physical infrastructure and the health sector were also discussed.
Views on regional and international issues to provide mutual benefit were also exchanged.
Both parties also agreed that Cambodia and Singapore were old friends. Cambodia recognised Singapore after its separation from Malaysia in 1965.
Cambodia-Singapore relations started with King Father Norodom Sihanouk and are based on mutual respect, trust and cooperation, they said.
Kin Phea, the director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said on Wednesday that relations between Cambodia and Singapore were strong and had been so for a long time.
“There are historical ties of cooperation between Cambodia and Singapore, with January 7, 1979 [the fall of the Khmer Rouge] and the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991 [marking the official end to the Cambodia-Vietnam War], so it is good when the two sides meet and talk,” Phea said.