January 17, 2023
PHNOM PENH – Prime Minister Hun Sen is paying a three-day visit to Maldives from January 15-17 to further strengthen cooperation between Cambodia and the remote island country, which lies 750km southwest of India in the Indian Ocean.
In a social media post, Hun Sen said the visit at this time would offer both sides opportunities to review the entire scope of bilateral cooperation on trade, investment, connectivity, health, cultures, agriculture and human resource development to provide additional mutual benefit for the two nations and their peoples.
Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister Srey Thamrong, who is part of the Cambodian delegation, said on January 15 that this visit is the first by the Kingdom’s top leadership since the two nations established diplomatic relations.
This, he added, goes to show that the government has made serious efforts to enhance relationships with all countries, whether small or large, as Cambodia wants to make friends and does not want to be the enemies of anyone.
“We need to build confidence together to address problems and crises in the region and the world alike. So, the communication and the efforts of the prime minister at this time really helps to strengthen and develop this relationship further, including in areas like tourism and health,” he added.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hun Sen is accompanied by foreign minister Prak Sokhonn; Senior Minister in Charge of Special Missions Othsman Hassan; Minister of Tourism Thong Khon; Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng; and the leadership of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce.
Its January 13 press release said Hun Sen will hold official talks with Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, during which various aspects of bilateral, regional and international cooperation will be discussed. After the meeting, the two leaders will preside over the signing ceremony of a number of documents on bilateral cooperation.
During the visit, Hun Sen will pay separate courtesy calls to the vice-president, speaker of the people’s majlis (parliament), chief justice and foreign affairs minister of Maldives.
Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said the visit demonstrated the great efforts made by the government to diversify the Kingdom’s diplomatic relations. He said Cambodia is on the right track in its “colourful” foreign policy with regional and global economic integration intended to maximise benefits for the Kingdom.
“The prime minister’s visit to Maldives highlights a smart foreign policy of making many friends externally while reforming internally,” he told The Post on January 15. “The visit will help broaden and strengthen the relationship and cooperation between the two countries.”