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Cambodia Strengthens Bilateral Cooperation with Australia

Phnom Penh: Cambodia and Australia’s Foreign Ministers have discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation and regional and international issues of common concern during a phone conversation on Friday. The talk between Cambodia’s Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn with his Australian counterpart, Senator the Hon Marise Payne was focused on the recently established trilateral security partnership, “AUKUS”.

The two leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to working more closely to further strengthen the relations in both bilateral and multilateral frameworks for mutual benefits of the two countries and for peace, stability and prosperity in the region, particularly when Cambodia assumes ASEAN chairmanship next year.

Payne has stressed that Cambodia is an important regional partner and Australia has a longstanding interest in its development. With the AUKUS, she has explained that it has been built for the common interest of the peaceful, prosperous and secure Indo-Pacific region, and has no intention to acquire nuclear weapons or establish a civil nuclear capability. She has also highlighted that their partnership will not be in addition to arm race in the region.

As part of the AUKUS, Australia would be able to acquire nuclear-powered submarines to upgrade the capabilities of the Royal Australian Navy. She has reiterated that Australis is committed to the nuclear non-proliferation obligations to working closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Cambodia’s Foreign Minister has expressed gratitude to Payne and to Australia as a whole about AUKUS. He has encouraged Australia to have a constructive engagement with ASEAN through all ASEAN-led mechanisms in building mutual trust and confidence in order to securing an open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based regional architecture. Sokhonn highlighted that as a country which had experienced war, destruction, and suffering for many decades, Cambodia wishes to see the whole region remains peaceful, stable, and prosperous. He has also expected that AUKUS will not fuel unhealthy rivalries and further tension.

Both Foreign Ministers have also exchanged views on pressing regional issues pertaining to peace, security and stability in the region, including the situation in Myanmar. Cambodia and Australia will celebrae 70 years of diplomatic relations.

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