During the Asean-Russia summit on Wednesday in Singapore, Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed support to increase the status of the Asean-Russia relationship from dialogue partners to strategic partners.
“Cambodia supports a request made by Russia to promote a strategic partnership between Russia and Asean,” Mr Hun Sen said. “Russia and Asean should meet on a regular basis to enhance and expand cooperation.”
Asean leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday adopted the Asean-Russian Federation Dialogue Relations to Strategic Partnership in order to advance cooperation by “forging closer cooperation for a mutually beneficial relationship based on equality and shared responsibility to promote peace and stability”.
Mr Hun Sen has also urged Asean member states to make a concerted effort to achieve the Comprehensive Plan of Action to Promote Cooperation between Asean and the Russian Federation adopted in Sochi in 2016.
The relationship between Russia and Cambodia has moved forward over the years.
Last month, Mr Hun Sen announced Russia would recategorise Cambodia’s outstanding $1.5 billion debt as an investment and pledged to provide more aid to the Kingdom next year.
Sok Touch, president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said Russia is looking into Asean to offset United States President Donald Trump’s America first policy.
Mr Touch said that Russia is looking to take advantage of Asean markets for its products, including energy and weapons technology.
“For Cambodia, it is an opportunity to seek Russian energy and railway infrastructure support,” he said. “Cambodia can also look to Russia’s market to export agriculture products such as rice.”