Cambodia has asked Japan to support July’s general election with financial aid and observers.
The move was made after Prime Minister Hun Sen met with Japan’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs Nakane Kazuyuki yesterday at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh.
During the meeting, Mr Hun Sen asked the Japanese side to continue its support of Cambodia with aid for the national election on July 29, and to send observers to monitor it as well.
“The sending of Japanese observers to monitor the election is to ensure that it is free and fair,” Mr Hun Sen said in a post to his Facebook page. Japan has already provided $1.2 million to the National Election Committee in support of the election.
In a separate meeting, Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn also met with Mr Kazuyuki at the ministry, where both officials discussed the defence sector, trade, tourism, assistance aid, and bilateral relations between the two countries, as well as a host of regional issues.
Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry said the meeting intended to boost ties and strengthen the relationship between both countries.
On Sunday, Japan opened a consulate office in Siem Reap province in conjunction with an expected increase in tourists from Japan, as well as a rise in industrial and economic activity in Cambodia.
“During the meeting, the minister mentioned that the opening of Japan’s new consulate office would play an active role in strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries and also increase tourism, investment and trade,” Mr Sounry said.
He added there were about 3,500 Japanese investors, comprising 250 companies, which were operating in Cambodia.
Mr Sounry said Mr Kazuyuki reaffirmed his government’s commitment to continue working closely with Cambodia in covering many areas of cooperation.
“The Japanese government has pledged to continue helping Cambodia’s blue hat forces in training before they take part in United Nations’ missions,” Mr Sounry said, referring to Cambodian soldiers working abroad as UN peacekeepers.
The pair also used the meeting to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapon tests, which have caused heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and throughout the world.
Mr Sounry said Cambodia has strongly urged the North Korean government to fully respect the UN resolution and has called on North Korea to comply with all concerned parties to resolve tensions through peaceful negotiations.
Cambodia and Japan first established diplomatic relations in1953, but bilateral ties were suspended for more than two decades due to Cambodia’s civil war.
Japan was one of the players in the 1991 Paris Peace Accords and its overseas development assistance helped Cambodia rise from the ashes of civil war.
Since 1992, Japan has been one of the kingdom’s biggest donors, providing more than $2 billion in official development assistance, focussing on infrastructure, human resources development and humanitarian assistance.