PHNOM PENH (The Nation/Asia News Network): Thailand and Cambodia will boost bilateral trade to US$15 billion (550 billion baht) per year by 2025, it was agreed during Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s one-day official visit on Thursday (Sept 28).
The Thai leader arrived in Phnom Penh on Thursday morning on his first official bilateral visit to any country. It was his second overseas trip as prime minister after attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week.
In Phnom Penh, Srettha was welcomed by his Cambodian counterpart, Hun Manet, at the Peace Palace – the principal workplace of the prime minister of Cambodia.
Hun Manet is the son of long-time leader Hun Sen. Both Srettha and Hun Manet became prime minister on the same day late last month.
Both sides agreed to increase bilateral trade to $15 billion within two years while upgrading border checkpoints and rail links for cargo trains.
Bilateral trade was worth $4.67 billion in 2022, having increased every year since 2015, when bilateral trade amounted to $1.83 billion.
The two leaders held bilateral meetings aimed at deepening the direction of action to further deepen and expand cooperation in all areas of mutual benefit within the bilateral and multilateral frameworks, said a statement from the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
It said Srettha’s visit to Cambodia would “further strengthen the traditional bonds of friendship and elevate multifaceted cooperation between the two nations”.
“The visit is expected to deliver mutual benefits to the peoples of both nations and contribute to the promotion of peace, stability, and prosperity within the Asean community and beyond,” said the ministry.
During their meeting at the Peace Palace, the two prime ministers also attended a handover ceremony of the Transit and Reception Centre for Victims of Trafficking and Other Vulnerable Groups, which is located in Poipet, a Cambodian city bordering Thailand.
The centre is a bilateral initiative, according to the Cambodian foreign ministry.
PM Srettha was also scheduled to pay a courtesy call on senior Cambodian politicians, including Hun Sen, who is chairman of King Norodom Sihamoni’s Personal Advisory Council, Say Chhum, the acting head of state and president of the Senate, and Khuon Sudary, president of the National Assembly, the Khmer Times reported on Thursday.
The Thai leader also laid a wreath at the Independence Monument and paid his respects to the statue of Cambodia’s late King Norodom Sihanouk at the Royal Palace.