ASEAN: PHNOM PENH: Cambodia backs UK Asean dialogue partner bid


Mark Field speaks to the media. KT/Chor Sokunthea


Cambodia yesterday expressed support for the United Kingdom’s bid to become an Asean dialogue partner.

The United Kingdom’s bid for support was conveyed yesterday by Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field in a meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn.

After the meeting, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ket Sophann said that the UK wanted to be a dialogue partner of Asean after Brexit.

“Mr Field said that the UK needs support from Cambodia for it to have a comprehensive partnership with Asean as a dialogue partner after Brexit,” he said.

Mr Sophann added that Mr Field said the UK has worked with Asean on economic, political, security, national defence, counter-terrorism and drug trafficking issues.

“He said that Asean should consider the UK as a reliable partner,” Mr Sophann said.

He said that in response to the request, Mr Sokhonn said he supports the UK to be a partner, and is optimistic that it will get support from Asean.

Mr Sophann also said that the UK said it stands ready to help Cambodia have a bright future and that Mr Field expressed support for the Supreme Consultative Council which was initiated by Prime Minister Hun Sen in the spirit of solidarity.

Mr Sophann explained that the UK has not yet formally left the European Union which is an Asean dialogue partner, and wants to maintain a dialogue partnership after Brexit.

During the meeting, both sides also discussed bilateral cooperation and the UK pledged help on demining and education. The UK will also continue its preferential treatment for Cambodia as a least developed country.

Mr Field yesterday briefed the media at the British Ambassador’s residence about his visit to six Asean countries which is aimed to build and strengthen the relationship between the region and UK.

He had yesterday also met with Mr Hun Sen and other ministers including the Education and Interior Ministers.

In the meeting at the Peace Palace, both sides discussed democracy, enhancing cooperation and bilateral relations.

Mr Field told Mr Hun Sen that the UK wanted to see the progress of democracy restored, and that they will continue to work closely with Cambodia on climate change, education and de-mining.  Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times

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