Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai is paying a formal visit to Cambodia for the 11th meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC). The meeting runs from December 16-18 and is co-chaired by Don and his counterpart Prak Sokhonn.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said on December 16 that Don is slated to pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Hun Sen and hold bilateral meetings with Sokhonn, where they are expected to exchange views on regional and international issues of common interest as well as Cambodia's role as chair of ASEAN in 2022.

According to the ministry, this year's JCBC will have the theme "Peace, Prosperity and Recovery Together".

"The meeting aims to further strengthen and enhance our close and comprehensive relationship and to speed the recovery of our economies after the Covid-19 crisis," the ministry said.

After the conclusion of the JCBC meeting, the two foreign ministers will preside over a ceremonial handover of RT-PCR and SARS-CoV-2 test equipment from the Thai government to the Poipet Referral Hospital and the Mongkol Borey Hospital in Banteay Meanchey province.

Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun said Cambodia should expect an uptick in diplomatic visits from now on such as those in the Asia-Pacific region and other international guests, including emissaries from the two superpowers.

"This is because Cambodia has become a country with increased strategic value in terms of geopolitics and geographical competition because Cambodia chairs ASEAN in 2022," he said, adding that the visits from some countries reflect their having established better diplomatic relations with better cooperation.

Chanroeun believes that the Thai foreign minister will also discuss ASEAN with Cambodia and will undoubtedly touch on the crisis in Myanmar and go over Cambodia's intended strategy to mediate the conflict and resolve it at the upcoming talks between Hun Sen and Myanmar leaders.

"We also must not forget that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken just visited Southeast Asia, including Thailand. Whether we like it or not, Thailand, which is a big brother in ASEAN, is also a close ally of the US.

"We can expect they will be attentive to Cambodia's initiative in helping find a solution to the crisis in Myanmar with the wishes, whether spoken or unspoken, of the US in mind as things proceed," he said.