Cambodian, Malaysian PMs vow to further enhance cooperation in post-pandemic era

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob (left) with his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen in Phnom Penh on Feb 24, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PHNOM PENH (XINHUA) - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his visiting Malaysian counterpart Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Thursday (Feb 24) vowed to further strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation in the post-Covid-19 pandemic era for mutual benefits.

The commitment was made during their around two-hour talks at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia.

Speaking at a joint press conference after the meeting, Mr Hun Sen said the discussions touched on bilateral relations and cooperation in trade and investment, defence and security, tourism, education, labour, and the post-pandemic economic recovery.

"We focused on cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 and vowed to further promote bilateral trade, investment, health, tourism, science and technology, and the people-to-people exchanges with the view to bolstering the post-Covid-19 economic recovery," Mr Hun Sen said.

"We are also committed to strengthening cooperation in human resource development, labour, digital and green economy to achieve long-term healthy growth and sustainable development for the benefits of the two peoples," he added.

According to Mr Hun Sen, trade volume between the two countries was valued at more than US$500 million (S$676 million) in 2021, up from US$442 million in the year before, and Malaysia was the third largest investor to Cambodia in the last five years.

"We were pleased to see an increase in bilateral trade despite disruptions caused by the Covid-19," Mr Hun Sen said. "We hope our bilateral trade volume will continue to rise this year."

Prime Minister Ismail said the two Asean members had significant room for further growth in trade and investment volumes, adding that Malaysia was interested in exploring commercial collaboration in information and communication technologies, fintech, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises sectors in Cambodia.

Meanwhile, Mr Ismail said that Malaysia would reopen its borders for international travellers in the near future after the country achieves its high vaccination rates against the Covid-19.

"When our international borders are fully reopened, Malaysia will further increase bilateral cooperation with Cambodia in various sectors," he said.

In the Asean framework, Mr Ismail fully supported Cambodia's Asean chairmanship in 2022, vowing to work closely with Cambodia to maintain the bloc's centrality, unity, peace, stability, sustainable development and prosperity.

Mr Ismail arrived in Cambodia on Wednesday for a two-day official visit.

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