October 27, 2023
PHNOM PENH – Russian naval vessels are scheduled to dock at the Preah Sihanouk port this November, while an official visit by the president of the Cambodian Senate has been suggested for later next year, following its 5th-mandate election.
The Senate election is expected to take place in March, and former Prime Minister Hun Sen has said he will stand for the presidency.
Both the naval and Senate visits are intended to tighten diplomatic ties and cooperation between the two countries.
The plans were revealed during an October 26 meeting between Prime Minister Hun Manet and Russian ambassador to Cambodia Anatoly Borovik.
According to Manet’s social media post following the meeting, both sides expressed their desire for enhanced relations and cooperation. Manet also suggested a visit by the next Senate president, hinting that it would include defence and security exchanges.
The post described Cambodia-Russia relations as “good”, adding that Russian naval vessels are set to arrive in the Kingdom next month.
During the meeting, Borovik noted the 67 years of good diplomatic ties between Cambodia and Russia and expressed his belief that their friendship will grow even stronger in the future.
He thanked Cambodia for acting as a broker between ASEAN and Russia, saying this has elevated ASEAN-Russia dialogue to another level.
Manet recalled that cooperation between the two countries has traditionally been excellent, especially when the then-Soviet Union (USSR)provided assistance for Cambodia to re-build itself after the collapse of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime.
He assured the ambassador that the Kingdom’s foreign policy remains unchanged, especially regarding Cambodia-Russia bilateral relations.
Borovik also reaffirmed his government’s commitment to encouraging Russian investment in Cambodia, especially in the auto and mechanical industries, agricultural machinery, medical equipment and information technology.
“In addition to our existing cooperation, we discussed strengthening and expanding tourist and educational exchanges, as well as other areas of common interests for the two countries and peoples,” added Manet.
Following the meeting, Borovik took to social media to thank the prime minister for the warm welcome.
“Honoured to have meeting with Hun Manet, Prime Minister of Cambodia. Both sides are aiming to promote Russia-Cambodia relations in many spheres even further,” he tweeted.
Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, explained on October 26 that as a sovereign nation, Cambodia can form relations with any other country, as long as it respects the embargos of other members of the international community.
“When it comes to our relationship with Russia, we must remember that we have a long history of assisting one another, such as during the Civil War. The then-USSR helped Cambodia a lot,” he added.
He continued that there are no issues with Cambodia-Russia cooperation in sectors that are not under embargo, as the times have changed since the Cold War era. No country can be totally isolated.
“Cambodia should examine potential areas of cooperation that will benefit both sides,” he said.
Further cooperation was announced by Cambodian National Police chief Sar Thet, who accepted an invitation by the Russian Security Service to provide Cambodian police officers with digital training in Russia.
He met with a delegation from the regional office of the Russian Security Service on October 25.
“I support any opportunity for our officers to receive new skills and technical training, particularly ones that can be used to combat cybercrime. Cambodia has sent police officers to Russia to learn other skills in the past, and we will continue to do so, in this case to receive training in cybercrime skills,” he said.