ASEAN Beat

What Did Cambodia’s Hun Sen Accomplish in His First Timor-Leste Visit?

The two countries reached several notable agreements.

Prashanth Parameswaran
What Did Cambodia’s Hun Sen Accomplish in His First Timor-Leste Visit?
Credit: Hun Sen Facebook Page

Cambodia and Timor-Leste reached several agreements to boost bilateral ties during Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s first official visit to the country this weekend.

According to Hun Sen’s Facebook page, the two countries signed three important agreements: a framework agreement on technical and economic cooperation, one on visa exemptions for holders of diplomatic and service passports, and a memorandum of understanding on labor cooperation.

“After the signing ceremony, the leaders from both countries held a joint press conference and confirmed their friendly relations and cooperation in sectors such as agriculture, trade, mines and energy,” the statement added.

The two delegations also discussed cooperation in several other areas. According to Cambodia’s foreign ministry, Hun Sen told Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister Rui Maria Araujo that Cambodia would offer ten scholarships each year to East Timorese students.

Ahead of the visit, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Sry Thamrong had said that Cambodia would make a commitment to buy some coffee and provide technical assistance for Timor-Leste’s growing rice sector, while the mainland Southeast Asian state also asked Timor-Leste to look at the possibility of importing milled rice and sugar from Cambodia.

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“They want to learn from us on agriculture and tourism because we have had success in the tourism sector,” Thamrong said according to Khmer Times. “We could buy some coffee from Timor-Leste and according to a request from Timor-Leste, we plan to provide technical help for the country’s rice growing sector.

During the visit, Araujo also reportedly thanked Hun Sen for his support for Timor-Leste’s bid to join both the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Hun Sen later joined Araujo to attend the 41st anniversary of the National Armed Forces for the Liberation of Timor-Leste (FALINTIL). The Cambodian premier invited Araujo to join the World Economic Forum, which Cambodia will host next year.