Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn has lauded South Korea for committing to help develop the Mekong region.
The statement came yesterday, after the 10th Republic Of Korea (ROK) Foreign Ministers’ meeting via video conference on Monday, which was co-chaired by Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.
“There is clear merit in the Mekong-ROK commitment to contribute to and to focus on the Mekong region’s development, and to a larger extent, to contribute to the realisation of the Asean Community,” Sokhonn said.
“As far as the long-term sustainability of our cooperation framework is concerned, I am of the view that development assistance is only one side of the story,” he said.
“The resilience of our nations, especially in the post-COVID-19 economic recovery period, will depend on the ability of our respective governments to stimulate economies through trade, investment and tourism,” Sokhonn said.
“This is where I expect the active contribution of the private sector to boost new business and investment opportunities to enable the creation of new employment prospects that are suitable in the post-virus new norm,” he added.
Sokhonn thanked South Korea for providing $300,000 worth of medical kits for Cambodia to fight COVID-19.
He also lauded the successful completion of the “Water Resource Management and Development on the Mekong River linking with the catchment of the Tonle Sap Great Lake” project.
The statement released by the Foreign Ministry yesterday also expressed strong support for the New Southern Policy of South Korea and the three pillars on which it is based – namely People, Prosperity and Peace – as underlined in the Mekong-Han River Declaration.
The ministry stressed the importance of stronger public-private cooperation for inclusive and sustainable development of the region and shared the view that the Mekong-ROK Business Fora and the Mekong-ROK Business Council have strengthened economic ties between South Korea and the Mekong countries.
Sokhonn also welcomed Cambodia’s support for South Korea’s proposal to raise the level of the Mekong-ROK cooperation to the level of Strategic Partnership, in line with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s previous initiative to upgrade the mechanism of the meeting to summit level.
The meeting convened with two outcomes, namely the co-chair concluding statement for the 10th Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ meeting and the plan of action from 2021 to 2025 on the Mekong-ROK cooperation for the implementation of the Mekong-Han River Declaration.
Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute director Kin Phea told Khmer Times yesterday the Mekong-ROK cooperation is an opportunity for Cambodia to strengthen relations with South Korea, especially through investment and trade exchange between the two countries.
“The two countries are at a positive stage with one another, with the potential to think about negotiating a free trade agreement. It could be very beneficial for Cambodia,” he said.
“More particularly, South Korea has aided Cambodia amid the pandemic already, as well as committed to the country’s post COVID-19 recovery,” Phea said.
Sokhonn will attend the Asean Foreign Ministers’ Troika open-ended Meeting with the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary on COVID-19 today via video conference.