German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier reiterated German preparedness to help Cambodia combat climate change and embrace renewable energy. The largest European economy will continue to support mine clearance operations in Cambodia and conservation of Cambodia’s ancient temples.

Steinmeier was the first German president to visit Cambodia. He paid a three-day from February 14-16 as part of his Indo-Pacific tour.

While meeting with Steinmeier, Prime Minister Hun Sen offered his appreciation for Germany’s support of mine clearance activities since 1994.

“President Steinmeier was pleased to confirm that Germany’s support for the mine clearance operations and for the conservation efforts of the Angkor temples would continue,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, in a February 16 press release.

“The president reiterated the readiness of his country to help Cambodia combat climate change and embrace renewable energy. German technology is also available to contribute to sustainable long term socio-economic development of Cambodia,” it added.

During his time in Cambodia, Steinmeier visited demining operations and the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem reap province, and also the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh.

“The visit was conducted in a cordial atmosphere of mutual trust and appreciation, which forms the backbone of the close friendship between the two countries,” said the ministry.

The post further announced that during today’s visit, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had a broad exchange on the political situation in Cambodia with former opposition leader Kem Sokha.

Ro Vannak, co-founder of the Cambodian Institute for Democracy, said Germany has provided significant assistance to the Kingdom.

“The German focus on environmental and cultural issues is an excellent use of soft power. This enables it to cooperate closely with the government, where other large powers such as the US take a much stricter stance on Cambodia,” he added.

Kin Phea, director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said German’s commitment to helping Cambodia with combating climate change, renewable energy and demining operations is beneficial to the Kingdom’s development.

“These sectors are not very sensitive, so both sides can work closely,” he said.

“I think it may take some time for the two nations to understand each other clearly on all points, such as Cambodia’s internal political issues. It is important that the two countries seek a mutual understanding,” he continued.

“Germany is a major economic power in Europe, so boosting trade and investment has strong potential to improve the livelihoods of the people of Cambodia,” he concluded.