The British Foreign Office met its Cambodian counterpart on Wednesday and insisted on strengthening economic ties with Southeast Asia
Cambodia to take over the presidency of ASEAN next year
Britain’s top diplomat met his Cambodian counterpart on Wednesday and insisted on strengthening economic ties with Southeast Asia, as part of the UK’s new focus on this region.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab met with Cambodian Foreign Minister Barak Sokhon in Phnom Penh. This is the first visit of a British foreign secretary to Cambodia since the reopening of the British Embassy 30 years ago.
Raab said before this meeting:
It’s been 30 years since the UK reopened its embassy in Cambodia, and I’ve been amazed at the progress the country has made from its booming business to education and healthcare standards. I look forward to building on these foundations as Cambodia takes on the important role as ASEAN Chair next year.
Cambodia is scheduled to take over the annual rotating presidency of ASEAN next year.
After meeting Prak Sokhon, Raab said on Twitter that the two men talked about them Our common priorities are trade, human rights and MyanmarBut she did not give more details.
Mr. Raab also met with Environment Minister Say Sam L. Ministry spokesman Neith Vectra said in a tweet on Twitter that the two men talked about “common priorities”, including human and human rights, trade, COVID-19 and Myanmar. He gave no other details.
Vectra said the two ministers also addressed topics such as transnational wildlife trade, renewable energy consumption, Cambodia’s contribution to the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021 – also known as COP26 – and biodiversity conservation.
He added that Mr. Raab had asked Mr. Samal what the UK could do to help the environment and nature sectors. Mr. Samal responded to Mr. Raab that the UK could help Cambodia develop human resources in the field of environmental and nature protection, establish business partnerships and export products from Cambodia.
As Raab met with officials, human rights monitors noted that Cambodia had recently arrested and imprisoned environmental activists and urged the foreign minister to demand their release, along with about 70 other political prisoners.
Foreign Secretary Raab’s visit comes amid the human rights crisis in Cambodia, and his speaking points and public statements should reflect that.
said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division.
“The UK must also ensure that any future trade preferences granted to Cambodia are firmly based on the improvement of civil and political rights.” he added.
Last December, the United Kingdom granted Cambodia trade concessions. That is, four months after the European Union partially suspended similar preferences for human rights abuses.
In anticipation of Cambodia’s accession to the ASEAN presidency next year, the country has already received the visit of two high-ranking foreign diplomats: Mr. Raab and US Assistant Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman, on June 1.