Cambodian and South Korean officials on February 10 affirmed their optimism that two-way trade will remain on a positive growth trajectory, supported by the Cambodia-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA), and hailed their bilateral relations and cooperation in politics, foreign affairs, security, among other areas.

The remarks were made during a courtesy call by newly-minted South Korean ambassador Park Jung-wook on Senate president Say Chhum.

At the meeting, Say Chhum shared that the two-way merchandise trade reached $778.92 million in 2022 – which Customs statistics indicate is a 0.63 per cent increase over 2021 albeit an 11.66 per cent drop from 2019’s all-time high of $881.76 million.

He also disclosed that, accounting for $5.06 billion, South Korea was Cambodia’s second largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) for the period between the August 5, 1994 promulgation of the old Law on Investment and September 30, 2022 – only behind the Greater China region, which comprises mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Say Chhum heralded Cambodia-South Korea relations and cooperation, remarking that significant steps forward are constantly being made in the fields of politics and foreign affairs; defence and security; trade, investment and economics; culture and arts; education and sports; and people-to-people exchanges.

Nonetheless, the Senate president expressed hope that bilateral relations and cooperation would be further strengthened in all areas during Park’s tenure and beyond.

Of note, last year marked the 25th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries on October 30, 1997, after they were severed on April 5, 1975, just 1,783 days after they were initially established on May 18, 1970.

Park responded with confidence that the CKFTA, along with the similar ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), would provide a sizeable boost to trade between the two countries.

He lauded the relations and cooperation cultivated between the two parliaments, as well as the regular visits made by leaders and senior officials of both countries.

The ambassador vowed to work to further strengthen relations and cooperation between the countries, including their parliaments, governments and peoples.

Park hoped that bilateral relations, cooperation and cultural exchanges would reach new heights going forward.