- November 26, 2020 3:08 AM
- January 23, 2024 11:05 AM
- February 22, 2021 9:56 AM
PHNOM PENH – Prime Minister Hun Manet will pay an official visit to Thailand on Feb. 7 at the invitation of Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announcement released on Feb. 5.
The two prime ministers will discuss cooperation in areas of common interests and sign several cooperation documents. One matter on the agenda will be discussions on a disputed 26,000-square-kilometer area in the Gulf of Thailand, which is believed to be rich in gas and oil.
During a talk on Jan. 10, Thai Foreign Affairs Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara said the issue would be brought to the table for discussion on Feb. 7 and would seek actions accordingly.
Another topic is the transboundary smog issue, which was once discussed by Cambodian Environment Minister Eang Sophalleth and Thai Deputy Foreign Minister Jakkapong Sangmanee on Feb. 2.
Both said the haze problem that occurs every year has affected the health of the people on both sides of the border. Thailand needs Cambodia to help tackle pollution as well, as fires related to agricultural practices have been raging in Cambodia over the past two weeks.
The two countries agreed that the topic needs further discussion.
Thailand and Cambodia are also expected to enhance “enduring ties and traditional bonds of friendship’ through the enhanced partnership for peace and prosperity.” The consolidation aims to bring mutual benefits for people of both sides, peace, stability, and prosperity for the ASEAN Community, the press release said.
Seun Sam, a policy analyst at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the two new prime ministers understand their mutual needs in this relationship because both countries are economic partners and rely on one another.
“For example, Cambodia partly depends on Thailand for labor and agricultural exports, while Thailand also gets benefits from agricultural products and the trust of Cambodian patients going to Thai hospitals,” he told Cambodianess on Feb. 5.
“The two countries need to understand each other because they are neighboring countries, although sometimes they face bitter problems. That is to ensure the stability and peace of the two countries, especially the peace along the border,” Sam added.
Thailand will become the second ASEAN country, after Vietnam, Prime Minister Hun Manet visits since he took office in August last year. Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin visited Cambodia in September 2023, making it his first official visit abroad.
Prime Minister Hun Manet, thus far, has paid official visits to China, France, Vietnam, and Japan. Thailand will be his fifth official visit abroad.
The prime minister will also deliver a speech at the opening ceremony of the Cambodia-Thailand Business Forum.
The prime minister and his wife, Pich Chanmony, will be granted a royal audience by Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua, according to the ministry’s press.
Hun Manet will also attend separate talks with the Thai parliament, including the senate president, the National Assembly president, and the House of Representatives Speaker.
Both countries have reached $3.7 billion in bilateral trade volume in 2023, down by 17 percent compared to 2022, while imports decreased from $3.6 billion to nearly $2.9 billion, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise’s report in January.
Regardless, Thailand is Cambodia’s fourth biggest export-import market, following China, the U.S., and Vietnam.