Cambodia Cements Strategic Ties with South Korea 

PHNOM PENH – The leaders of Cambodia and South Korea have agreed to elevate ties to strategic partnership level and strengthen exchanges and cooperations on trade, security and development.  

Prime Minister Hun Manet and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol announced the upgrade  on May 16  after a summit in Seoul. Hun Manet is on an official visit to South Korea which ends on May 18.

A joint statement reaffirmed two sides’ commitment to strengthening defense cooperations including exchanging visits, engaging in training and education, enhancing counterterrorism cooperation and conducting exercises while expanding cooperation in peacekeeping operation with South Korea willing to help Cambodia strengthen blue helmet troop capability.  

“The Cambodian side welcomed the South Korean Navy’s plan to conduct its first port call in Cambodia this year,” it said.

Cambodia and South Korea also agreed to enhance cooperation on combating growing transnational crimes such as drugs and human trafficking, cyber crimes and scam operations. They will cooperate on maritime safety and security to promote peace and stability in the region.

On North Korea, the joint statement called on Pyongyang to abide by all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and stressed the importance of peaceful dialogue for lasting peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.   

They also aim to increase economic cooperation, trade, investment while agreeing to enhance digital trade and intellectual property, seek ways to deepen supply chains, tourism, education and culture cooperation and fostering agri-trade and transfer of farming techniques and technology. 

Six documents were signed including a protocol amending the framework agreement concerning a loan from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund for the years 2022 to 2026. Yonhap reported that the loan will rise from $1.5 billion in 2022-26 to $3 billion in 2022-30. 

Among the documents signed are a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on investment cooperation, an MOU on cooperation on intellectual property sector, an MOU on skill and professional talent development program, a letter of intent on strengthening narcotic control and a loan agreement on rural development projects.

This is Hun Manet’s first official visit to South Korea since becoming PM in August. He last met Yoon in 2023 in Indonesia. 

Cambodia established ties with South Korea in 1970s and cut them off when the Khmer Rouge came to power. Relations were restored in 1997. 

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