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South Korea urged to finalise Asean economic pact

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Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn (left) and his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha sign an agreement to avoid double taxation on income and prevent tax evasion. Korean Foreign Ministry

South Korea urged to finalise Asean economic pact

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn urged South Korea to finalise the comprehensive economic partnership for Asean countries as soon as possible.

He also urged Busan city mayor Oh Keo-don to continue paying more attention to the welfare of Cambodian migrant workers in the city. The request came during his bilateral meeting with Oh on Monday.

Sokhonn was attending the Asean-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit and the First Mekong-Republic of Korea Summit in Busan city from November 24 to 27, representing Prime Minister Hun Sen.

A press release issued by the ministry said he thanked South Korea for increasing the quota of Cambodian migrant workers and paying attention to the welfare of over 9,000 Cambodians living and working in Busan city.

Sokhonn said that since 2007, more than 61,000 Cambodians have had an opportunity to work in South Korea under the employment permit system. Their experience which upskilled them will help the workers to get a higher-skilled job when they return to Cambodia.

Sokhonn expressed hope to benefit more from the Korean technical assistance for skills development and human resources development in the IT, telecommunications and digital innovation sectors.

This is so that Cambodia can benefit from Industrial Revolution 4.0 and recognise the important role that the Asean-Korea Centre and Asean Culture Centre play to promote tourism, culture, trade and investment in Asean and Korea.

Meanwhile, he called for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to be finalised as soon as possible by the 15 participating countries early next year.

He requested for Korean companies to participate in the connectivity project in Asean member countries, especially in the smart city sector, hard and soft infrastructure and skills training to promote economic growth and the people’s welfare.

Kin Phea, the director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, told The Post on Thursday that the leaders of Cambodia and Korea have the will and commitment to promote cooperation.

Phea said: “The policy framework looks at the new south direction, in which [South] Korea moves toward counties in Southeast Asia and India.

“This could contribute to promoting cooperation between the two countries. There are many mechanisms such as Korea-Mekong mechanism and the Korea-Asean mechanism. We think that Cambodia and Korea will have deeper bilateral ties.”

Phea expressed hope that there will be more direct investment from Korea to Cambodia.

Korea’s policy of looking towards the south pays attention to issues of peace, security and the promotion of relations between people, economic development and prosperity for the Korean peninsula and partner countries.

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