Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Motegi Toshimitsu announced yesterday Japan will provide $239 million in emergency financial assistance to support Cambodia, saying it “has suffered from adverse economic impacts as a result of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).”
“He [Motegi] also expressed Japan’s intention to provide assistance for improving the environment in Cambodia’s urban areas, the measures against marine plastic waste, and counter-terrorism capacity building,” said a statement of the Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry about a phone conference between Motegi and Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn.
Both ministers shared the view to continue to work together closely toward the goal of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and the United Nations reform, including the Security Council, which marks the 75th anniversary since its establishment, the statement said.
Motegi said Japan is committed to further promote Japan-Cambodia relations under the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga administration, which was inaugurated in September.
Motegi also extended condolences regarding the recent damage caused by heavy rains and flooding in Cambodia, saying that Japan will consider providing any assistance that it can.
Sokhonn said Cambodia appreciates Japan for its assistance and expressed his intention to further promote bilateral coordination in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
In August, Motegi paid a two-day visit to the Kingdom.
Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute director Kin Phea told Khmer Times yesterday that the loan assistance shows the sympathy of Japan as a “friend” who often helps Cambodia. “It is a good diplomatic move,” he said.
Phea said that after the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement, Japan helped the Kingdom with peacebuilding, economic and infrastructure development, and human resource development.
“This loan assistance is a timely gesture toward economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Phea said.
Delivering a speech at the Vietnam-Japan University on Monday, Suga said Asean and Japan are equal partners and friends.
“We support each other by working side by side, learning from others and working together in pursuit of growth. Our relationship remains exactly a “heart-to-heart” relationship,” he said.
Suga said Japan has never forgotten how Asean countries helped it as friends nine-and-a-half years ago when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck.
“I believe that the ability to help each other in crises and respond swiftly to emerging challenges is another trait of the cooperation between Asean and Japan as equal partners,” he said.