March 7, 2022
PHNOM PENH – Phnom Penh and Beijing have renewed their pledge to further prop up bilateral and ASEAN-China cooperation in the interest of regional peace, stability and economic prosperity.
The pledge was made at a March 4 meeting between Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn and his Chinese counterpart special representative Yang Yanyi, where the latter reiterated China’s resolve to “further strengthen and broaden cooperation with Cambodia in all fields”, the foreign ministry noted in a press release issued later that day.
Sokhonn and Yang “reaffirmed commitment to further promote cooperation between both nations as well as between ASEAN-China for the sake of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and beyond”, the release said.
Both sides “exchanged views and noted with satisfaction the growing relations between the two countries within the framework of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Cooperation and the building of a Community of Shared Future”.
Sokhonn voiced gratitude to China for its steadfast support for socio-economic development in Cambodia, as well as the Kingdom’s ongoing battle with Covid-19.
The minister also briefed the delegation on the motivations behind the Kingdom’s decision “to join the co-sponsoring of the Resolution of the Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly on the situation in Ukraine”.
He also mentioned his planned first visit to Myanmar as the ASEAN chair’s special envoy, set for later in the month.
“The visit will be aimed at pushing for the implementation of the five-point consensus [5PC], especially to end violence; to create favourable conditions for the delivery of humanitarian assistance by arranging the holding of the Consultative Meeting on Humanitarian Relief; and to establish an environment conducive to the political dialogue among all parties concerned leading to national reconciliation,” the release said.
Yang praised Prime Minister Hun Sen’s efforts as the ASEAN chairman “in making progress on the implementation of the five-point consensus through his working visit to Myanmar”, according to the release.
She underlined Beijing’s “full support” for the Kingdom’s ASEAN chairmanship and Sokhonn’s upcoming mission to Myanmar, adding that “China will play a constructive role in finding a peaceful solution” to the crisis engulfing the country.
Heng Kimkong, a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland and a visiting senior research fellow at the Cambodia Development Centre, said it is crucial that Cambodia and China continue to strengthen their bilateral relations. As ASEAN chair and with its strong ties to China, Cambodia is in a good position to engage with China to promote peace, security and prosperity in the Kingdom and the region.
“However, Cambodia needs to be mindful of how its close alignment with China and its foreign policy is perceived by countries in the region and the wider Indo-Pacific,” he told The Post on March 6.