Prime Minister Hun Sen condemned North Korea’s test-launch of a ballistic missile over Japan on October 4, saying the provocative act could exacerbate the already-tense situation on the Korean Peninsula and cause instability in the region.
The premier deplores the launch while meeting his Cuban counterpart Manuel Marrero Cruz, who is on a three-day visit to Cambodia to enhance bilateral relations.
“The move was dangerous and constituted another violation of the UN Security Council Resolutions,” he was quoted as saying in a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
According to South Korea’s Ministry of National Defence, the North fired the Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) over northeastern Japan, the first time in five years, prompting Tokyo to activate its missile alert system and issue evacuation warnings.
The South Korean and Japanese militaries said the IRBM flew around 4,600km, arguably the longest distance for a test by the nuclear-armed country. The last time North Korea fired a missile over Japan was in 2017.
The October 4 test was reportedly the North’s fifth missile launch in 10 days.
In a separate statement, the Cambodian foreign ministry urged all parties to exercise the utmost restraint to prevent the situation from escalating.
“[Cambodia] calls on all concerned parties to … create an environment conducive to the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks to bring about a complete, verifiable, irreversible and peaceful denuclearisation of the Korea Peninsula,” it said.
Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies at the Asian Vision Institute, opined that the test-launch was part of the problem of division within the Korean Peninsula, with the North led by communism and the South by democracy, a crisis which he said was inherited from the Cold War.
He said the peninsula conflict was the result of the ideological competition of two superpowers – the free world and the communist world – which caused destruction and the separation of families and had affected the stability and peace of the entire world to this day.
He added that it was necessary for Cambodia to contribute to ending the crisis, saying the Kingdom has an important role to play in promoting the building of a cultural bridge of peace on the Korean Peninsula.
“While disapproving of the missile launch, Cambodia wishes to see the two Koreas negotiate and find a peaceful common solution. Cambodia intends to maintain good diplomatic relations with both nations,” he said.
Mengdavid suggested that Cambodia and major powers help intervene politically, economically and diplomatically so that the two Koreas could build mutual trust as a driving factor for negotiations.
Hun Sen’s bilateral meeting with Marrero also touched on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
He said that while Cambodia understands the historical motives behind the war, security concerns and complexity of the issue, the Kingdom disapproved of the invasion and annexation of regions from a sovereign country.
As a small country, he added, Cambodia upholds the respect of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all UN member states and the UN Charter.