Japan-Cambodia Relations

Foreign Minister Kono Visits Cambodia

April 8, 2018
Japanese

Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Kono paid an official visit to Cambodia on Sunday, April 8. The overview of the visit is as follows.

1 Itinerary

Meeting with H.E. Mr. PRAK Sokhonn, Senior Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, courtesy call on Prime Minister Hun Sen, E/N signing ceremony, luncheon hosted by Prime Minister Hun Sen, visit to the memorial for the late Atsuhito Nakata (United Nations volunteer), and visit to the memorial for the late Police Superintendent Haruyuki Takata, civilian police officer for the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC).

2 Main Events

(1) Courtesy call on Prime Minister Hun Sen and luncheon hosted by Prime Minister Hun Sen 

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A. At the outset

Minister Kono touched on the fact that his father, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Yohei Kono, had worked hard for peace in Cambodia as the Chief Cabinet Secretary and Minister for Foreign Affairs, and stated that the ties of the two countries are strong because they have travelled the path of peace, reconstruction, and development together. Furthermore, he stated his gratitude to Prime Minister Hun Sen for supporting the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy" from an early stage. Prime Minister Hun Sen mentioned that today, April 8, is the anniversary of the death of United Nations volunteer Nakata, expressed anew his gratitude for Japan's contribution to UNTAC which resulted in the sacrifice of the two Japanese nationals, and highly evaluated the current close cooperative relations between the two countries. Furthermore, he reiterated his support for the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy."

B. Bilateral relations

Minister Kono explained the status of progress of support pertaining to improvement of logistics, human resource development and reinforcement of urban functions with a view to assisting Cambodia in becoming a middle-to-high-income country by 2030. Furthermore, he stated his intention to further build up specific cooperation on the grounds that these forms of support align with the goals of "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy" as well. Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his intention to deepen cooperation under the strategy on the grounds that Cambodia would never forget its gratitude for the support of Japan which has been continued consistently since peace was achieved.

C. Cooperation in regional and international issues

The prime minister and minister discussed cooperation between Japan and ASEAN to secure peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, cooperation for the Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting planned to be held in autumn this year, maritime issues, and the North Korea situation. Regarding the North Korea situation, they agreed that it is necessary to continue to apply maximum pressure on North Korea because it has not made a clear statement about denuclearization, and Prime Minister Hun Sen gave an explanation of the initiatives of Cambodia and made a statement to the effect that he supported the position of Japan pertaining to the abductions issue.

D. Domestic situation in Cambodia 

Minister Kono once again urged Cambodia to conduct the general election this July in a way that appropriately reflects the will of the people. In response, Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his intention to hold the National Assembly elections in July in a free and fair manner that reflects the will of the people.

E. Other

After the end of the courtesy call, a signing ceremony for an exchange of notes pertaining to the Phnom Penh City Transmission and Distribution System Expansion Project (Phase 2) (2) and an exchange of notes pertaining to the grant of customs patrol craft and grant aid was held between Minister Kono and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn in the presence of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

(2) Japan-Cambodia Foreign Ministers' Meeting 

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A. At the outset

Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn welcomed the visit of Minister Kono, and expressed his intention to take the opportunity of the 65th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries to further strengthen the "strategic partnership" between the two countries. Minister Kono stated that he hoped for a year of strengthening of friendship between the two countries, through the opening of the Siem Reap Consular Office of Japan in January and a range of celebratory events.

B. Bilateral relations

Minister Kono mentioned that Japan places importance on the development of Cambodia, which is located strategically in the Mekong Region, and stated his intention to continue expanding and enhancing support centered on improvement of logistics, human resource development and reinforcement of urban functions, including the two ODA projects signed during the visit. Furthermore, he stated his expectations regarding initiatives for prompt conclusion of the Khmer Rouge Trials. In response, Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn expressed his deep gratitude for Japan's contribution over many years.

C. Cooperation in regional and international issues

The two ministers agreed to deepen not only bilateral but also multilateral cooperation during the 45th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation this year. In addition, they exchanged views about cooperation with ASEAN to promote the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy" and about Japan-Mekong cooperation, maritime issues, the North Korea situation, and RCEP, etc. In that context, Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn once again expressed his support for the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy" because it aims to maintain peace and stability and secure prosperity.

(3) Visit to the memorial 

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Minister Kono visited the memorials for the late Police Superintendent Haruyuki Takata (civilian police officer for the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia) and the late Atsuhito Nakata (United Nations volunteer), who lost their lives in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in Cambodia from 1992 to 1993.

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