Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sri Lankan president to visit Kingdom at King’s invitation

Sri Lankan president to visit Kingdom at King’s invitation

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena arrives ahead of Narendra Modi’s swearing-inceremony as prime minister of India in New Delhi on May 30. PRAKASH SINGH/AFP

Sri Lankan president to visit Kingdom at King’s invitation

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will pay a four-day visit to Cambodia from Wednesday to Saturday at the invitation of King Norodom Sihamoni, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced on Tuesday.

“His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena’s first visit to Cambodia will significantly strengthen the bonds of friendship between Cambodia and Sri Lanka, and expand cooperation in economic, trade, tourism and cultural fields,” a ministry press release said.

It said Sirisena will have a royal audience with the King at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh.

He will also attend a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen, during which various areas of cooperation will be discussed to strengthen friendly ties between the two countries, which the ministry said are deeply connected through Buddhism.  

“The two leaders will also exchange views on regional and international issues of common concern and interest,” the press release said.

Hun Sen and Sirisena will also witness the signing of several cooperation agreements.

Political analyst Kin Phea, the director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on Tuesday that Sirisena’s visit would be a positive start to improved relations between the two countries.

He said that as far as he was aware, there had only been one official visit between Cambodia and Sri Lanka at the national level.

“In 2006, Sri Lanka’s prime minister paid a visit to Cambodia, but the Sri Lankan president hasn’t visited Cambodia and our prime minister has never visited Sri Lanka.

“We can say that the visit is the highlight of relations between the two countries in the context of a new framework. With regard to the trade volume between the two countries, we see that it is not significant. But both countries are Buddhist, so we have a similar nature,” Phea said.

He said it could be a positive sign in the framework of cooperation and mutual support in regional and international affairs, as the two countries share similar political and economic conditions and can help one another if necessary.

Political analyst Meas Nee told The Post on Tuesday that he viewed the visit on two levels. First, the main objective is simply to strengthen diplomatic ties at the invitation of the King. On another level, he said, Sri Lanka, like Cambodia, is facing criticism from the West over China’s influence.

Nee said Sri Lanka had been criticised for leasing its Hambantota port to Beijing for 99 years after it failed to repay a Chinese loan for the project.

“So it coincides with the situation in Cambodia. We see Cambodia establishing relations with Turkey and now Sri Lanka, which are countries facing Western criticism with regard to

geopolitics in the region,” he said.

The ministry’s press release said: “During his stay in Cambodia, President Maithripala Sirisena will visit Wat Lanka Preah Kosmaram and present to the Most Venerable Samdech Preah Maha Ariyavamsa Sao Chanthol a sapling of the sacred Wijaya Sri Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi [a sacred fig tree in the Mahamewna Gardens, in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka].

“Subsequently, he will attend a tree-planting ceremony at the Oudong Mountain Meditation Centre which has received a gift of 10 [Sri Lankan ironwood] trees from the president.

“President Maithripala Sirisena and members of his delegation will also visit the temples in the Angkor Archeological Park, Siem Reap province.”  

Government spokesman Phay Siphan could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

MOST VIEWED

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Hun Sen’s rare visit to Cuba: What’s going on?

    Back on August 17, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that he would deliver a speech at the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA) at the UN headquarters in the US’ New York City, visit Cuba and attend the state funeral of the slain Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo