CAMBODIA and South Korea signed investment and technical cooperation accords Feb
10 which are expected to strengthen business ties, officials said.
"The two agreements [we] have signed are marking another milestone in chapter
of Cambodian-Korean relations," said K.T. Park, head of South Korea's diplomatic
mission in Cambodia, at a signing ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Officials said an investment protection and promotion agreement would protect Korean
companies against any possible nationalization of industry and establish most-favored-nation
trade preferences between the two countries, while an economic, scientific and technical
agreement would promote the exchange of experts, information and equipment.
Park said the accords fostered closer relations between the two countries, but added
"there is still one important task to be realized" - a reference to the
fact that full diplomatic ties have yet to be established.
After years of diplomatic absence, Phnom Penh established mission-level ties with
South Korea last May - at the instigation of Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, who two
months later visited Seoul, the first senior Cambodian official to do so since 1975.
Funcinpec has also supported greater ties with Seoul, and Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ung Huot (Funcinpec) praised the signing of the latest accords as a necessary move.
But because of opposition by King Norodom Sihanouk, further diplomatic ties have
not been formalized between Phnom Penh and Seoul.
Sihanouk has a house in North Korea and was a close friend of the Stalinist state's
late leader, Kim Il-Sung. The King last year declared that he would not accept the
credentials of any South Korean Ambassador sent to Cambodia, and urged "pro-Seoul
forces" to wait until his death before establishing full diplomatic ties.
Seoul opened a trade office in Cambodia last October. South Korean firms invested
$12 million in Cambodia last year, mainly in garments, said Park.