Visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia by Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida
July 11, 2014
Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida paid an official visit to Cambodia on Sunday, June 29 and Monday, June 30. The overview of the visit is as follows.
- The bilateral relationship had been upgraded to a “strategic partnership” in December 2013, taking the opportunity of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Cambodia. Foreign Minister’s visit served as an opportunity to advance specific cooperation following the mutual visits by the two Prime Ministers last year.
- During Minister Kishida’s meetings with Prime Minister Hun Sen and Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, Cambodia reaffirmed its support for Japan’s policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” and the efforts being undertaken under this policy. The two Ministers exchanged views on: (1) cooperation for consolidating democracy including through assistance for electoral reform; (2) robust economic diplomacy towards the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015; (3) supporting the moves for direct flight service between the two countries (substantial agreement on the air services agreement); and (4) working closely with Cambodia, which is the coordinating country for ASEAN-Japan, on regional affairs including issues over the South China Sea and North Korea. Both countries affirmed that they will advance cooperation in each of these areas.
- Minister Kishida attended the opening ceremony of AEON MALL Phnom Penh, the largest Japanese investment to date (approx. 25 billion yen), and highlighted the support by the government for promoting investment by Japanese companies in Cambodia. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen and most of his ministers, demonstrating the high level of expectation that Cambodia places on this project.
3. Main Events
(1) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and luncheon hosted by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong
B. Bilateral relations
- Minister Kishida explained Japan’s policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” to contribute even more actively in securing peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world and the efforts being undertaken under this policy. Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong expressed support for this policy.
- The two ministers confirmed that the third Japan-Cambodia Politico-Military (PM) Dialogue will for the first time be held in Tokyo later this year.
- Minister Kishida emphasized the importance of the smooth progress and successful completion of the Khmer Rouge trial and expressed his expectation for Cambodia’s contribution. In response, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong expressed his gratitude for Japan’s contribution to date and stated that support from Japan would be crucial for the progress of the trial.
- The two ministers welcomed the substantial agreement on the air services agreement, the negotiation of which had started following the decision by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Hun Sen in December 2013.
- The two ministers shared the view that they should enhance cooperation in Japan-ASEAN and Japan-Mekong meetings among others, given that Cambodia serves as the coordinating country for ASEAN-Japan. The two ministers exchanged views on regional and international issues including maritime issues. In this connection, Minister Kishida explained Japan’s position and pointed out the importance of ASEAN unity, the “rule of law” at sea as was stipulated by Prime Minister Abe at the Shangri-La Dialogue, and the further enhancement of the East Asia Summit (EAS). The two ministers shared the view on the importance of peaceful solution in accordance with international law, and decided to coordinate with each other toward the ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in August.
- The two ministers also decided to work with each other in resolving missile and abduction issues of North Korea.
(2) Courtesy Call on Prime Minister Hun Sen
B. Bilateral relations
- Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his gratitude for Japan’s assistance since the days of the Cambodian peace process, and expressed his support for Prime Minister Abe’s policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace”.
- Minister Kishida touched upon assistance for electoral reform. Referring to the dispatch of a study team from Japan in May, he underscored the importance of smooth and swift progress of political talks between the ruling and opposition parties and of setting out a clear direction for electoral reform in a manner that both parties can agree on. Prime Minister Hun Sen explained to Minister Kishida the current state of discussions between the two parties, with regards the country’s political situation after the general election last year.
- Regarding bilateral economic relations, Prime Minister Hun Sen explained measures for supporting Japanese enterprises, and the Japanese side requested continued cooperation from the Cambodian side. In terms of economic cooperation, Minister Kishida stated that Japan would continue to support the construction of the Southern Economic Corridor, as the key to the connectivity of the Mekong region, towards the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.
- Both sides exchanged opinions on regional and international issues, such as the issues over the South China Sea and North Korea. Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that he has long supported Japan’s stance concerning the abductions issue.