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Singapore and Laos Foreign Ministers’ Visit to Cambodia Builds Positive Relations

PHNOM PENH: The Foreign Ministers of Singapore and Laos have arrived in Cambodia to attend the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and also pay an additional two-day official state visit. Both Foreign Ministers have met with Prime Minister Hun Sen, Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, and other senior government officials, highlighting the positive relations between Cambodia and Singapore and Cambodia and Laos.

According to a statement released by the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 16 February, the main issues discussed by Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan during their meeting focused on promoting and gaining momentum on bilateral trade and investment. The Cambodian side reportedly requested Singapore to increase imports of Cambodian agricultural products, prepare a memorandum of understanding between the two countries' trade chambers, and effectively implement the Agreement on the Avoidance of Overlapping DATs.

The statement added, "His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn, while acknowledging the significant presence of Singaporean investment in Cambodia, which ranked fourth in investment activities in 2021, encouraged more investments from Singapore, especially in the fields of technology, finance, innovation, digital economy and agriculture, which provides new and rich incentives for new Cambodian investment laws."

The two sides also discussed the importance of tourism and cooperation in recognizing vaccine certification between the two countries, as well as cooperation in human resource development in aircraft maintenance engineering and civil aviation management. The Foreign Ministers also discussed security and defense cooperation and exchanged views on issues related to ASEAN.

Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn also met with the Foreign Minister of Laos, Saleumxay Kommasith, and discussed bilateral relations, good neighborliness and mutual understanding on topics related to politics, trade and investment, socioeconomic linkages, defense and security, connectivity, transportation, border affairs, tourism and education.

The statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs included that the Cambodian and Laotian Foreign Ministers “noted with satisfaction that their respective Ministries are working together to expedite the finalization of the Draft Action Plan for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a comprehensive and long-term strategic partnership that aims to take bilateral relations [between the two countries] to a new level."

The visits of both the Singaporean and Laotian Foreign Ministers ended on Wednesday, 16 February, but the two will continue to attend the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Cambodia on 17 February 2022.

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