TOKYO — Foreign Minister Taro Kono expressed hope Wednesday for Cambodia’s further development and democratization in talks with his Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhonn.
Touching on Japan’s history of working closely with Cambodia since peace was achieved in the Southeast Asian country years ago, Kono reiterated his call for the democratization process to continue and for the freedom and rights of its people to be respected, according to the Foreign Ministry.
In July, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s party secured a landslide victory in the country’s general election in the absence of a major opposition party. The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party was forced to dissolve ahead of the race.
During their meeting in Tokyo, Kono and Sokhonn also agreed to cooperate in crafting a new strategy for Japan-Mekong cooperation in areas such as infrastructure and human resource development when leaders of the region and Japan gather in Tokyo in October, the ministry said.
This year, Japan and Cambodia celebrate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations.
Sokhonn expressed appreciation for Tokyo’s support for Cambodia’s social and economic development. “We hope to deepen and expand relations between Cambodia and Japan,” he said during a press conference.
The ministers also discussed regional issues such as the situation in North Korea as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, according to the ministry.
Negotiations are under way for reaching agreement on the free trade deal among 16 Asia-Pacific countries, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Japan.