Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi announced that he will discuss security cooperation with Cambodia on his August 3 visit, saying such talks are warranted as the international community is facing complicated situations including the Russia-Ukraine conflict, North Korea’s nuke programmes, Myanmar’s ongoing crisis and the contentious South China Sea.
Hayashi is slated to attend the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meetings (AMM) and related meetings, which officially kick off on August 3.
In a message a day prior to his arrival, Hayashi said he will meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn on the sidelines for talks to outline developments of the Sihanoukville port, a “core port for cooperation in the field of security”.
On the 55th AMM, he applauded Sokhonn and all ministry officials for their dedication to preparing and coordinating the meetings as the chair of ASEAN.
“We are currently dealing with complex issues in global and regional politics. Under such circumstances, the meetings will be an important forum for confirming and disseminating the values and principles that the international community should uphold,” he said.
Back in March, Prime Minister Hun Sen met with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida during his visit to Cambodia, where both issued a joint statement setting the goal of cooperation in the future.
Hayashi said the two governments will continue to work hard to implement the joint statement so that it becomes practical cooperation.
Hayashi also thanked the government and people of Cambodia profoundly for their condolences following the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“This warm gesture moved me, and I was pleased to know that Japan has many friends in Cambodia,” he said, adding that he hoped the bonds of friendship between the two nations would grow even stronger.
Yang Kim Eng, president of the People’s Centre for Development and Peace, said Japan was particularly concerned about security issues as it is close to both China and Russia. Russia had threatened Japan in the past, and due to the Ukraine and South China Sea disputes, Japan has been striving to expand its military.
“Discussions with any other members of the international community will help Japan to feel less isolates and concerned,” he said.
“Because Cambodia is the chair of ASEAN, it is also a good opportunity for Japan to seize. They have traditionally enjoyed close relations with Cambodia,” he added.
Separately, Sokhonn and his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan on August 2 formally inaugurated the Cambodia-Singapore cooperation centre in the ICON Building in the capital’s Chamkarmon district.
Foreign ministry spokesman Chum Sounry was unavailable for comment, saying he was occupied with work.