Japan-Cambodia Relations

March 20, 2022
Photo of Japan-Cambodia Summit Meeting Japan-Cambodia Summit Meeting (Photo: Cabinet Public Affairs Office)
(Photo) Japanese Prime Minister KISHIDA stands beside the Cambodian Prime Minister before summit meeting Japan-Cambodia Summit Meeting (Photo: Cabinet Public Affairs Office)
Photo of Japan-Cambodia Summit Joint Press Conference Japan-Cambodia Summit Joint Press Conference (Photo: Cabinet Public Affairs Office)

On March 20, commencing at 5:35 p.m. (local time; same day, 7:35 p.m. JST) for approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes, Mr. KISHIDA Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan, who is visiting the Kingdom of Cambodia, held a meeting with Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia at the Office of the Prime Minister of Cambodia, including a 40-minute tete-a-tete meeting. An overview of the meeting is as follows. After the meeting, the two leaders issued a joint statement. They also attended a signing ceremony of exchange of notes on two grant aid projects and a joint press conference, followed by a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Hun Sen. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kihara and others attended the meeting.

1. Outset

 Prime Minister Kishida expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome which he received from Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian people. He expressed his desire to further develop bilateral relations at the best level ever with Prime Minister Hun Sen. Prime Minister Kishida also paid respect to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s active engagement as the ASEAN Chair this year on the situation in Myanmar. He expressed his desire to advance cooperation to achieve a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" and in dealing with regional and global situations, such as Russia's aggression against Ukraine. In response, Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his delight at holding this first face-to-face meeting as Prime Minister and his desire to work closely with Prime Minister Kishida in addressing regional and global situations.

2. Bilateral relations

(1) Important infrastructure development

 Prime Minister Kishida stated that as a part of important infrastructure development, Japan would provide support to make the Sihanoukville Port operate as a regional hub port. Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his gratitude for Japan's support to the development of the port and stated that the Cambodian government would like to coordinate together with Japan to that end.

(2) Security cooperation

 Prime Minister Kishida stated that as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the UN Peace Keeping Operation (PKO) deployment to Cambodia, the recent visit to Japan by Lt. Gen. Hun Manet, Commander of the Royal Cambodian Army, and port calls in Cambodia by Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) have enhanced cooperation between the two countries. He also stated that he would like to advance cooperation through continuous visits to the Ream Naval Base including port calls by JMSDF and expansion of bilateral exercises and cooperation in the field of humanitarian aid and disaster relief. In response, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that Cambodia appreciates and values security cooperation with Japan and would like to further advance this cooperation.

(3) Economic relations

 Prime Minister Kishida stated he would support the efforts of companies in both countries to strengthen the resilience of supply chain of the automobile industry and to develop high-skilled industrial human resources, which will lead to digitalization of the manufacturing industry. Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his appreciation for the Japanese companies’ contribution to the Cambodian economy and industry and stated that he would like to invite more investment from Japanese companies.

(4) Democracy and human rights

 Prime Minister Kishida stated that Japan would support Cambodia to hold the implementation of commune elections this June and the general elections next year in a way that reflects the diverse voices from the Cambodian people. Prime Minister Hun Sen asked for Japan's cooperation on holding free and fair elections.

(5) Expansion to new areas of cooperation

 Prime Minister Kishida stated that the two countries would cooperate in new areas such as energy transition, economic security, digital, and cyber. In response, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that he would like to actively advance cooperation with Japan in new areas.

3. Regional and international situations

(1) Situation in Ukraine

 Prime Minister Kishida highly appreciated that Cambodia, along with Japan, became a co-sponsor of the resolution on "Aggression against Ukraine" adopted in an emergency special session of the UN General Assembly. Prime Minister Kishida stated that Russia's aggression against Ukraine is a unilateral change of the status quo by force and a clear violation of international law. He further stated that Russia’s aggression shakes the very foundations of the world order and, violate the rule of law and the respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity as stipulated in the UN Charter, etc. He  stated that if the international community does not take firm action, such a situation could occur anywhere in the world and that it is important to clearly support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in order to prevent such a situation from occurring in Asia. In response, Prime Minister Hun Sen explained his awareness of the issue, which led Cambodia to join in co-sponsoring the UN General Assembly resolution and the recent responses of ASEAN so far. The two leaders concurred to cooperate in future international meetings.

(2) Regional situation

 Prime Minister Kishida spoke of Japan-Mekong cooperation and stated that Japan contributes 150 million yen to the Ayeyarwady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Development Fund, which is led by the Mekong countries. He stated that Japan would continue to cooperate with Mekong countries. Prime Minister Hun Sen appreciated and welcomed the contribution and stated that Cambodia attaches great importance to Japan-Mekong cooperation and expects Japan to continue its cooperation.
 Prime Minister Kishida also spoke about cooperation with ASEAN. He stated that Japan would welcome Prime Minister Hun Sen to a special summit in Japan next year to commemorate the 50thyear of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation and upgrade ASEAN-Japan relations to a new height. Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed support for Japan's initiative.
 Prime Minister Kishida welcomed Cambodia's active engagements the ASEAN chair country regarding the situation in Myanmar. In response, Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his gratitude for Japan's support for Cambodia's efforts in the Myanmar issue and his desire to cooperate with Japan to resolve the situation.
 The two leaders also exchanged views on important issues such as the South China Sea issue and the situation in North Korea, including the recent launches of the ICBM-class ballistic missiles. They consented to continue working together. Prime Minister Kishida also asked for continued understanding on the abductions issue. Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that the abductions issue is a serious humanitarian issue and expressed his continued support for Japan's position.
 In closing, Prime Minister Kishida stated that next year would marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Japan, and the 50th year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation. He stated that he and Prime Minister Hun Sen would like to take the "strategic partnership" between the two countries to a new level and continue to promote development in all areas in the future.

 Joint Statement(PDF)Open a New Window

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