Special Supplement in Khmer Times
Message of His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia on the Occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand
Dear readers of Khmer Times,
The auspicious day of 19 December 2020 marks the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand. Although our diplomatic relations was formalized on 19 December 1950, the interaction between our two peoples actually goes back centuries. Our two Kingdoms share not only common borders, but also similar traditions, culture and religion. For the past 70 years, our bilateral relations have grown from strength to strength, building on the solid pillars of close friendship and good neighborliness.
We owe to the Leaders of the two countries for their unwavering commitment to nurture our traditional bonds of friendship that enabled our bilateral relationship to thrive from one generation to another to greater height. All the while aspiring to lead a peaceful co-existence in a prosperous ASEAN Community, our two countries have solidified our broad based cooperation that spans a vast horizon encompassing many areas of mutual interest, namely political, security, economy, trade and investment, education, healthcare, connectivity and people-to-people exchanges. Our institutional cooperation mechanism, such as the Joint Cabinet Retreat, the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation, the General Border Commission, has been refined and improved over the years to provide an effective support to deliver on the common vision of our two Leaders.
Our two-way trade exchanges have witnessed a notable increase from USD 3,446 million in 2018 to USD 3,738 million in 2019. Better yet, this volume has reached USD 5,570 million within only 10 months of 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Investment wise, our relevant authorities are collaborating closely to foster the development of the SEZs along the Cambodian-Thai border and to further facilitate the border trade.
Sharing 803-kilometers of borderline, Cambodia and Thailand have exerted their maximum efforts to ensure that all shared border areas are peaceful and stable. In the spirit of good-neighborliness, we have collaborated unceasingly to improve the physical connectivity linking the two countries through building roads, bridges, railways, and other infrastructure projects. In 2018, we have designated the Phnom Dei – Ban Khao Din as our new international check-point and we are in the process of upgrading three other regional check-points into international check-points. We have promoted new initiatives to further enhance connectivity as evidenced by the signing of the Agreement on Joint Traffic Working Over Railing in April 2019. Most significantly, on 22 April 2019, the two Prime Ministers have presided over the inauguration of the Cambodia-Thai Friendship Bridge Stuengbot – Ban Nong Ian and broke ground for the construction of the Customs Building and the General Checkpoint at Stuengbot.
In the area of education and health, Thailand has made significant contribution and support to the sectors, with the provision of thousands of scholarships and training opportunities under various schemes such as Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) and the Royal Scholarship granted by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
Tourism exchanges between our two countries has shown considerable growth prospect year-on-year. To commemorate this 70th Anniversary, the ministries of Tourism of the two countries have revitalized the slogan “Two Kingdoms, One Destination” in a joint effort to attract more tourists to the two kingdoms. It is also heartening to note the deepening of people-to-people linkages between our two countries. While Cambodia becomes a popular tourist destination for Thai people, especially Angkor Wat, Siem Reap province, vice versa, Thailand has become one of the most favorite destinations for Cambodian people.
People-to-people relations go beyond the tourism exchange and cover as well those of migrant workers. True to the spirit of solidarity, the two countries have worked tirelessly to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of the migrant workers. Cambodia truly appreciates Thai authorities for facilitating the renewal of stay permit and work permit for Cambodian workers and increasing social benefits for suspended and unemployed workers. Other gestures of fraternal solidarity can be witnessed in Thailand’s humanitarian assistance to Cambodia in its fight against the spread of COVID-19 as well as to support the Cambodian people affected by the recent flash floods last October 2020.
On behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia, I would like to seize this opportunity to express my heartfelt congratulations to the Royal Government and people of Thailand on their auspicious National Day that takes place on 5 December 2020. I am also honored and privileged to present my best wishes of happiness and prosperity to the Governments and peoples of our two Kingdoms.
Lastly, I would like to proclaim long-live Cambodia-Thailand Friendship, and Happy 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand.
H.E. Prak Sokhonn
Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia