Cambodia and Pakistan stand to strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation on trade, tourism, education and defence further, as they noted that their relations had been lifted to another level.

The commitment was made during a meeting between Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn and newly appointed ambassador Zaheeruddin Babar Thaheem on March 10.

“Sokhonn and the ambassador noted with satisfaction the increasing ties and friendship between the two countries through the exchanges of visits of leaders, and had agreed to strengthen and expand ties and cooperation between the two countries on trade, tourism, education and defence,” said a press statement released by the foreign ministry.

It noted that Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will pay an official visit to Cambodia later this year. The visit is expected to uplift the bilateral ties of the two countries.

Sokhonn told Thaheem that Cambodia was considering opening an embassy in Pakistan in the near future.

The minister said he was ready to cooperate with Thaheem during his term in Cambodia, while Thaheem said he would make efforts to make the two nations’ bilateral ties stronger.

After the meeting, Sokhonn took to Facebook – saying that Cambodia and Pakistan look forward to celebrating their 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations in May this year with a range of joint activities and programmes.

“We concurred that Pakistan should play a bigger role in the Southeast Asian region, especially through closer engagement with ASEAN,” he said.

Heng Kimkong, a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland and a visiting senior research fellow at the Cambodia Development Centre, told The Post on March 13 that enhancing bilateral ties with Pakistan is a smart move by the Kingdom.

“Amid the increasing uncertainty caused by great power rivalry, Cambodia as a small state needs to diversify its relations with as many countries as possible – to seek support for its post-pandemic economic recovery,” he said.