Cambodia's new foreign minister Sok Chenda Sophea, who is former secretary-general of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), pledges to complete the implementation of reforms introduced by his predecessor Prak Sokhonn.

The reforms include strengthening the National Institute of Diplomacy and International Relations (NIDIR), enhancing human resource development in the diplomacy sector in order to build good diplomats who place national interest at the top.

Chenda Sopha, who made the pledge during a meeting with Sokhonn on August 23, said he would restructure the institutional and ministerial structure and build more facilities if necessary, while additional staff would be recruited if need be.

He would also request the Ministry of Economy and Finance to consider increasing the salary of Cambodian diplomats serving at embassies abroad every two years, so that they are able to respond to economic situations.

“The government of the seventh mandate would continue a journey amid intense geopolitical, trade, and military rivary among superpowers,” he said, adding that the international situation is “fast changing and complex”.

Meanwhile, Sokhonn said he has worked with the government for 44 years, seven of that as a foreign minister.

“It is the law of nature that when there is a beginning, there is also an end. I honour [former] Prime Minister Hun Sen who gave me the opportunity to protect our national interest in the diplomatic sphere around the world,” he said.

During his tenure, Sokhonn said he completed several important tasks such as protecting Cambodia’s independence, sovereign, integrity and prestige, while implementing the Kingdom’s rule-based foreign policy which is flexible in response to sophisticated geopolitics.

Meanwhile Chenda Sophea pledged to work hard to fulfill his new mission with conscience to serve the nation.

He said he would strive to learn about the diplomatic strategy and make “clever decisions”, with the backing of Hun Sen and new Prime Minister Hun Manet.