Prime Minister Hun Sen applauded Cambodian and Thai officials for promoting good relations between the two neighbours, as well as cooperation in trade, education and other sectors despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

The premier met outgoing Thai ambassador Panyarak Poolthup on September 5 at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, as he completed his diplomatic mission to Cambodia.

Hun Sen’s personal assistant Eang Sophalleth told reporters after the meeting that Panyarak thanked the government for providing free vaccines to himself and Thai embassy officials in Cambodia as well as other foreign embassy staff.

He congratulated the government on successfully curbing the spread of Covid-19 and reopening the country to host the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings successfully as the chair of the bloc. This reflected Cambodia’s strong role on the international stage, he added.

Panyarak recalled that when he arrived in Cambodia in 2018 to fulfil his diplomatic mission, he promised Hun Sen that he would further strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation on the existing basis. Now, he has fulfilled his commitment.

“Cooperation and relations between the two countries have been expanded and strengthened. Bilateral trade has grown by 10 per cent despite the Covid-19 pandemic, while education, human resource development and other sectors’ links have tightened,” Sophalleth quoted the ambassador as saying.

Hun Sen thanked Panyarak for his “wholehearted” efforts to fulfil his diplomatic mission, leading to improved relations between the two countries.

“Despite the pandemic, we have worked together to promote good relations between the two countries and promote cooperation in trade, education and other sectors,” the premier was quoted as saying.

Separately on September 3, Oddar Meanchey provincial governor Pen Kosal and Provincial Council chairman Sy Prasith met with a delegation from Thailand’s Sisaket province led by its governor Watthana Phutthichat to discuss ways to strengthen friendship, solidarity and cooperation between the peoples of the two bordering provinces.

On September 4, the two sides released baby fish together as a symbol of strengthening the friendship, solidarity and good cooperation between the neighbouring peoples. The ceremony took place at the provincial boat racing site in Boeung Snor, in Oddar Meanchey’s Samrong town.

In a September 4 social media post, Kosal said he would allow Thai monks, officials and Buddhists from Sisaket province’s Phu Sing district to parade candles and make offerings at Prasat Reachea Samrong Pagoda during the Vossa festival – the three-month annual retreat observed by Theravada practitioners.

Heng Kimkong, a visiting senior research fellow at the Cambodia Development Centre, said it is important to strengthen bilateral relations.

“Cambodia should request that Thailand offer more educational and professional opportunities for Cambodian youth in order to promote people-to-people exchanges between the two countries,” he told The Post on September 5.