Thailand and Cambodia strengthen strategic cooperation in joint press conference

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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin of Thailand and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Manet held a joint press conference at Government House following their meeting earlier in the day. Hun Manet and his wife, along with members of the Cambodian Cabinet, are visiting Thailand as guests of the government. The Cabinets of both countries also convened at Government House on Wednesday.

During the press conference, Srettha emphasized that both sides had agreed to enhance strategic cooperation across all sectors. The leaders expressed their commitment to increasing bilateral trade to 15 billion baht by next year, up from 8 billion baht in 2023. They highlighted a focus on border trade and measures to facilitate smoother transportation of goods between the two countries.

Srettha announced that both countries had agreed in principle to facilitate cross-border travel and trade, aiming to reduce trade barriers to boost border trade. The Cambodian delegation also urged Thailand to explore connecting the Thai special economic zone in Sa Kaeo province with the Cambodian town of Poi Pet.

In addition, Srettha revealed plans for serious discussions on joint energy development in the overlapping claims area in the Gulf of Thailand, driven by both countries’ desire to reduce reliance on oil and gas imports. These talks are expected to involve representatives from Thailand and Cambodia’s Energy Ministry and Navy, covering various dimensions of cooperation.

Expressing gratitude for Thailand’s hospitality, Hun Manet emphasized the close and friendly relations between the two countries at all levels. He acknowledged the frequent visits of the leaders and their amicable relations.

Srettha thanked Hun Manet for supporting Thailand’s proposal to open a consulate in Siem Reap in the first half of the year and pledged assistance for Cambodia to establish a consulate in Songkhla soon.

Regarding tourism and border development, both leaders agreed in principle to improve the quality of life for people living along the borders. They also committed to cooperation in landmine clearance and the establishment of permanent border checkpoints to promote cross-border tourism.

Thailand proposed exploring the possibility of allowing foreign tourists to enter Cambodia without a visa, which Hun Manet supported, pledging to facilitate further discussions on regional tourism cooperation.

In addressing transborder pollution, the leaders vowed to collaborate in combating forest and farm fires to improve air quality in both countries. They also pledged to share timely information to facilitate prompt fire suppression efforts.

On the issue of cybercrime, both governments agreed to enhance border surveillance to prevent drug and contraband smuggling. They also committed to joint police operations to apprehend criminals seeking refuge in either country.

Hun Manet expressed gratitude to Thailand for valuing Cambodian workers and requested easier procedures for those wishing to return home for Songkran in April. Srettha promised to consider the request and assured that Cambodian workers would receive the same labor welfare as Thais.

(Source: Associated Press | U.S. News & World Report | Nation Thailand)

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