South Korea and Cambodia have achieved remarkable advances in cooperation, including in the field of defence, since the re-establishment of diplomatic relations in 1997, ambassador Park Jung-wook said at a recent event commemorating Korea’s National Liberation Day and 75th Armed Forces Day.

The event was held in Phnom Penh and attended by more than 300 participants including members of the diplomatic corps, Cambodian government officials and members of the South Korean community in the Kingdom.

“We have further nurtured the trust and win-win collaboration in the full range of the political, economic, and development fields,” said Park.

“As a true friend of Cambodia, Korea has been supporting the Kingdom’s socio-economic development through various official development assistance [ODA] projects of a value of more than $1 billion from 1989 to 2021,” he detailed.

According to Park, for the last 20 years the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has been actively contributing to the development of healthcare, education, agriculture, rural areas and the preservation of cultural heritage in Cambodia.

He expressed hope that the active people-to-people exchanges between the two nations, including tourists, workers under the employment permit system and students, will serve to further deepen the bonds of friendship.

The ambassador also touched upon the two countries’ growing cooperation in the field of defence, both at the bilateral and multilateral level, saying that since the establishment of the defence attache office within the embassy in Phnom Penh in 2016, it is working closely with the Cambodian government to strengthen defence collaboration, including through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation between the armies of the two nations in 2022.

“Another valuable aspect of the endeavours is providing training programmes for Cambodian defence officials in South Korea,” he said.

“In the framework of the UN peacekeeping operation [UN PKO] triangular partnership programme, we will hold the first engineering equipment training for Cambodian peacekeeping forces in November, in collaboration with the UN,” he said.

Minister of Commerce Cham Nimul said at the event that South Korea is one of Cambodia’s main donors, having provided ODA to the Kingdom in the fields of infrastructure, public health, education, rural development, water resources, agriculture and engineering.

She said residents of Phnom Penh in particular are anticipating the upcoming groundbreaking of the Cambodia-Korea Friendship Bridge, which will advance the Kingdom’s growth and serve as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.

“Our people-to-people connections are strong. Our relationship is evident through the continuous exchange of Cambodian students and workers to South Korea and the deployment of Korean volunteers to different provinces across the Kingdom,” Nimul stated.

“In addition to the bilateral framework, the two nations have provided mutual support on the international stage and have worked closely together to address numerous regional and global challenges. This collaboration extends to ASEAN, Mekong sub-regional mechanisms and various other multilateral platforms,” she explained.

“I have every confidence that with the joint efforts of both leaders, our bilateral relations will be further deepened and elevated to new heights, with the aim of bringing many more tangible benefits for our two nations and peoples,” she added.